9-member elephant herd destroys crops (Chittoor District, India) 


The Hindu

Date Published

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Residents of Belupalle hamlet of Palamaner mandal, bordering the forests of Tamil Nadu, on Thursday woke up to the trumpeting of wild elephants, whose march through the fields led to an extensive damage to standing horticulture crops. Their ravage, which commenced around 3 a.m., continued till dawn.

The farmers said that generally they drive away wild elephants from the fields if they are two or three.

But here, they counted nine. As dealing with a herd with sub-adults is dangerous, the farmers desisted from making any effort to save their crops.

Forest officials of Palamaner range rushed to Belupalle and drove back the animals into the Mordhana reserve forest, spread over both Palamaner range and Tamil Nadu.

However, the villagers remained tense fearing their return at night.

Forest Range Officer (Palamaner) Madanmohan Reddy told The Hindu that the nine-member herd, including two sub-adults, has been seen on Palamaner-Tamil Nadu border, covering Mordhana reserve forest.

“The herd is shuttling between the plain forest of our division, and the difficult terrain in Tamil Nadu, with hillocks and valleys. The ground conditions make it difficult at our side to drive away the elephants up the hills. We are working on a 10-km stretch digging elephant proof trenches.

Once it is completed, everything will be fine, and the vulnerable villages and fields would be safe from the elephants,” he said, adding that the crop damage was being looked into.

“This season, most farmers have gone in for mulberry plantations,” said the Forest Range Officer.