Water Scarcity Draws Jumbos to Villages (Visakhapatnam, India)


V. Kamlakara Rao, The Times of India

Date Published

Water scarcity has hit animals too. Four elephants, which were thirsty, found their way into human habitation on Sunday.

A herd of four female elephants entered the Mohan Colony, Dwarapadu, Billumada and K Gumada villages of Seethampeta and Bhamini mandal of Srikakulam district in search of water. They damaged mango, cashew and coconut trees.

Srikakulam district forest officer Ch Santhi Swaroop said the jumbos came to the villages in search of water as some of the waterholes in the forest may have dried up due to insufficient rainfall last year.

“Elephants like water. As the herd walks miles in a day in search of food, they want to rest in water bodies. The tuskers were searching for water and accidentally walked into the two mandals. However, we have taken all precautionary measures to see that the herd does not hurt people and damage the crops,” Swaroop said.

The officer further added that the department requested the Union ministry to sanction Rs 50 lakh for taking requisite measures for protecting the wild animals at safer zones. The measures include solar fencing, lighting and digging of artificial water bodies, he added.

The forest department dug nearly 220 artificial water tanks in the forest area of the district for safeguarding the welfare of forest animals like elephants under various programmes including the recent Neeru-Chettu. However, due to no rainfall and severe heat conditions, most of the tanks dried up.

These elephants entered Andhra forest area from Odisha in 2007. They ventured into village habitations in search of male tuskers in December and again on Sunday in search of water. Despite several attempts, the forest officers are finding it difficult to send them away to Odisha. The officers had also carried out a special operation called the Chilli Aromatic Technique (CAT) by a wildlife veterinary expert Dr Rudraditya in January 2016 but it yielded no desired results.