Jumbo attacks estate worker in Coonoor (Nilgiris District, India)


The Times of India

Date Published

Udhagamandalam: Tension prevailed in Coonoor and its neighbouring areas after an elephant attacked a female estate worker at Maanar village near Kolakombai in the Coonoor range of forests.

Mallika, 31, was cleaning the front yard of her house when the elephant attacked her from behind. She was immediately taken to a nearby primary health centre, where she was given first aid. She was then taken to the Coonoor government hospital.

Last Saturday, a physically challenged man was killed in the Indian gaur attack.

According to Coonoor forest range officer Periasamy, the elephant strayed out from a reserve forest located some 3km away. “The tea estates in Maanar area are more or less like forest areas with several trees and bushes. And the wild animals see no boundaries,” he said.

Stating that the victim of the elephant attack was stable at the hospital, district forest officer (North division) Kalanidhi said, “If we look at the cases of human deaths due to animal attack, most of them took place either during early hours or late in the evening. And in most the cases, the attack has taken place due to teasing of the animals.”

Asked why the man-animal conflict is on the increase in Coonoor range, Kalanidhi said, “We cannot provide specific reasons but there is no water or grass in the forest area for the animals. Also, there is no continuous patch of grass lands anywhere. Maybe that’s why they stray into the plains.”

He, however, said, elephant attacks were rare in Coonoor range.

“But, sighting of gaurs is common. People take them for granted. Though shy, it is an unpredictable animal. For example, a few months ago a tourist was attacked by an Indian gaur in Sim’s Park. In that case, the victim tried to take a selfie with the gaur. And on Saturday, the gaur was chased away from a nearby estate. It took a narrow lane to escape, and the disabled man, who came on its way, was attacked and killed, “the district forest officer said.

Awareness is vital when it comes to dealing with wild animals. Teasing the wild animals is the main problem. Also staying out in the open near reserve forest area during late night and early hours can invite troubles, Kalanidhi said. 

Though the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) gaur has been listed as an endangered animal, its population has been on the rise in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the district forest officer said.

In the past two years, about nine people were killed in Coonoor range by wild animals, mostly by Indian gaurs.