Efforts to drive them back into forests go in vain.
A three-member herd of wild elephants, which crossed into Chittoor district from Tamil Nadu three weeks ago, is now lingering at a denuded forest stretch between Vadamalapeta and Tirupati, giving sleepless nights to farmers and forest officials.
The elephant herd, known in local circles as the ‘Bachelor’s Group’, is now over 150 km away from its habitat in Tamil Nadu. Forest officials tried in vain to drive the herd back into the forests when it entered the outskirts of Chittoor municipality. The herd continued to advance towards the eastern mandals with poor forest cover, scattered amidst agriculture fields and villages. For the last one week, the herd continues to stay put at Karveti Nagaram range.
As the possibility of driving the pachyderms back into their forests towards Koundinya wildlife sanctuary is now remote, as the herd has covered a distance of over 150 km, officials are of the view that the herd can now be diverted into the nearby Seshachalam hill range, 30 km from Vadamalapeta mandal, which is where the herd is currently located.
The herd’s movement towards the Seshachalam ranges would pose a high risk as the terrain is a sparse jungle, interspersed with a number of villages and vast stretches of agriculture lands.
Forest Range Officer (Karveti Nagaram) Sivanna said that on Saturday evening, the herd was temporarily driven into a jungle, adjoining the Gulluru waterbody, near Puttur. As the presence of wild elephants in the plains of Puttur and Vadamalapeta region was never heard of before, it led to tension among farmers engaged in farm activity post rains.