Elephants giving the jitters to Kuppam farmers


There is no respite for the farmers in the forest fringe villages in Kuppam division as wild elephants continues to give them sleepless nights.

A herd of 14 wild elephants from the forests of Karnataka, which crossed the tri-State Kuppam junction has been giving tense moments to farmers and other people at the border villages in Shantipuram mandal since Tuesday night.

The officials said that some farmers from the forest fringe villages in Karnataka had reportedly drove the herd towards Kuppam by blasting crackers and beating drums to protect their crops.

On Wednesday night, the herd was seen roaming in an eucalyptus plantation near Shantipuram in Kuppam division.

The herd strayed into the same region a fortnight ago, but was driven back into the Karnataka forests, after a week-long effort.

Big task at hand

Divisional Forest Officer (Chittoor West) S. Ravi Shankar told The Hindu that as per the ground report, the herd has 14 elephants.

“It is easy to make a lone wild elephant or a small herd retreat into their habitations. As the herd is considerably big, we are taking all precautions to prevent them from entering fields and villages. Any hurried step could lead to commotion,” the DFO said.

Safe passage

The DFO said that as part of the operation to drive them back into the forests in Karnataka, the forest officials had sought the electricity staff to stop power supply to the fields temporarily.

“Many elephant casualties owing to electrocution in fields were reported in Chittoor district in the past. Hence, we are careful to ensure a safe passage of the animals,” said the DFO.

Forest watchers deployed

Meanwhile, several batches of forest watchers and elephant trackers have been deployed in the border area to monitor the movement of elephants and to prevent their entry into fields and human habitations.

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