Mammoth problem for Kuppam (India)


G Sridhar, The Hans India

Date Published

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Tirupati: It is a double whammy for the people of the villages in Kuppam area, who are already facing elephantine problems. Their woes were compounded with a herd of six more elephants from Karnataka straying into their habitations damaging crops.
After a hue and cry from the farmers in the villages across the border in KGF Taluk (Karnataka) area, following elephants damaging the standing crops in Peddgandlapalla (Karnataka), the forest personnel tried to chase the uninvited guests, in the process they entered Kuppam area, instead of retreating into KGF forests, four days ago.

As the elephants were crisscrossing the border, the forest officials of Karnataka KGF division and AP Chittoor West division are striving hard to drive away the elephants into forest area near Ganeshpuram hillocks. Meanwhile, panic gripped the villages in Santhipuram mandal following the elephant’s rampage, which damaged standing crops besides injuring six villagers in separate incidents.

Curious villagers adding woes to the difficulty of the forest personnel, as in many villages they were seen moving close to the herd moving in the area. Interestingly, the herd during day time stray into human habitations rampaging crops including ragi, horticulture crops in the fields and retreat into the nearby mango garden to stay for the night only to resume their attack with renewed vigor from twilight, giving sleepless nights to the villagers and also forest department.

It may be recalled that following severe drought, 39 elephants in Hosur-Dharmapuri forest area in TN, began their journey in search of alternative habitation and reached Kuppam forests, 60 km away in the early eighties, resulting in the district having elephants after 200 years.

It was expected that the herd would move back to their original home during the next (favourable) monsoon. But, it did not happen and more over more elephants later migrated into Kuppam and Palamaner area, this time from Bannerghatta sanctuary in Karnataka in 1986, via Hosur-Dharmagiri forest.

Presently, there are 15-25 elephants moving in three-four groups in Kuppam forests while forest department claim the number is much more.  The elephant affected villages include Kadhiramuttana Palle, Kotigutta Palle, Nallarallapalle, Kotigutaa and Chowdamma palle, where the herd was spotted on Saturday morning.

Kuppam FRO Kalappa Naidu said that special parties were set up and were trying to divert the elephant group towards Ganeshapuram forest area in AP, Karnataka border while the experienced and efficient trackers also engaged to track the animals and see them sent back into the forests.

Chakrapani, Chittoor DFO (West), is closely monitoring the situation and guiding the field staff on safety measures in the villages where the herd is moving.Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also enquired on the elephant problem and directed the officials to solve it soon.