Elephants routinely raid crops in Tumakuru district because forest cover and water sources are shrinking in their natural habitat, according to an environmentalist.
Elephants straying into villages and staying put in the farms for days has become a norm in Tumakuru district, causing much distress to farmers. The herds tend to stand in shallow water in tanks during the day and feed on standing crops at night.
Though Forest Department personnel have tried to drive them back to Bannerghatta National Park in Bengaluru or Savanadurga forest in Magadi taluk of Ramanagaram district, the elephants have come right back to the district.
According to the Forest Department, in 2013–14, 430 cases of crop damage by elephants were registered and crops on about 490 acres of land were damaged. There were also four deaths. There has been an escalation in the cases in 2014–15. As on December 31, 2014, 509 cases were registered and crop damage was reported on 625 acres.
Farmer Mulukattaiah of Chikkonahalli in Gubbi taluk told The Hindu that elephants had destroyed ragi in the fields, but compensation was too meagre.
Elephants routinely raid paddy, ragi, banana, coconut, arecanut and sugarcane fields, with forest cover and water sources shrinking in their natural habitat, said environmentalist B.V. Gundappa.
“Even though we drive them back, they return in larger herds because cultivated crops are an easy source of food,” said Assistant Conservator of Forests Nagendra B.S. Rao.