Rumours on elephants send villagers into a tizzy (India)


The Hindu

Date Published
With rumours of a pachyderm herd approaching Kuppam spreading thick and fast, villagers start moving elders and women to safety
Several hamlets in Kuppam mandal, the tri-state junction bordering with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, were in the grip of fear on Thursday, with rumours spreading fast that a 50-member herd of elephants had started moving towards Kuppam from Hosur forests in Tamil Nadu. The forest officials rushed to the bordering forest areas and convinced the villagers to remain calm.
The rumours were sequel to the two elephants coming from Tamil Nadu forests and trampling standing crops of paddy and vegetables at Kusuru village near Kuppam. Some farmers on the night vigil at their fields spread the word in the villages in the early hours of Thursday that they had spotted a mammoth herd of pachyderms crossing Kuppam area.
Some families living close to their fields in thatched huts fled to safer places, while the youth kept busy in efforts to shift the elderly persons and women to neighbouring villages. By afternoon, normalcy returned as the officials convinced the residents of the hamlets.
Forest Range Officer (Kuppam) Kalappa Naidu told The Hindu that as and when the rumours were spread, forest personnel rushed to the border villages and thoroughly scanned the belt. “I have spoken to people and officials in Hosur. They confirmed that no movement of pachyderms was found in their area,” he said.
Meanwhile, the farmers are worried that unless the forest officials do something tangible to prevent the marauding herds from entering the fields, they will be facing severe crop losses. Both farmers and villagers observe that migration of elephants crisscrossing Kuppam, Gudupalle and Ramakuppam mandals between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka would be active from November till January end.