A forest guard was on Saturday evening trampled to death by an elephant while he was monitoring the movement of an elephant herd, which was trying to stray into a human habitat near Gudalur in the Nilgiris .
The deceased was identified as Sureshkumar, 45, a forest guard attached to Cherambadi range of forests in the Gudalur division.
The incident took place when he, along with a team of forest staff, was monitoring the movement of an elephant herd gathered at Wentworth tea estate at Theriyodu near Gudalur.
One of the elephants, sources said, charged towards Sureshkumar, who was 20-30ft away from the herd and trampled him to death.
The body was later taken to Gudalur government hospital for autopsy, which according to the forest officials, would be performed on Sunday.
A forest official said a herd of around 15-20 elephants, including six to eight tuskers, has been roaming at the border areas of Cherambadi and Pandalur forest ranges. A team of forest officials was deployed to monitor their movement in the area.
In another incident, two tuskers on Saturday morning strayed into a school zone in Devarshola area.
K Selvaraj, forest ranger officer of Gudalur range of forests, who is also in-charge of Pandalur range of forests, confirmed that two tuskers had strayed into a school zone in Devarshola area . “It took nearly four hours to scare them away,” he said.
Mostly, elephant herds are frequently seen roaming near the human habitats. As the Kerala forest department has installed trenches along their forest border and the Nilgiris, the area for elephants to wander is limited. Hence, they roam within the Nilgiris and stray into human habitats, a forest official said.