Forest officials from Chittoor West Division are on alert after three herds of more than 50 elephants have appeared in the Palamaner area in the past few days.
A herd of 20 returned to the forest edge village of Kothigutta on Friday evening, hours after a lady elephant was electrocuted. To add to the misery of the wooded hamlets of the Palamaner Mountains, the herd found their way again on Saturday morning, forcing the elephant trackers to drive them back into the woods. It is reported that two other herds are moving in the same area.
Divisional Forest Officer (Chittoor West) S. Ravi Shankar said The Hindu that it had become very difficult to cope with the crowds near the raging herds. He said a village boy miraculously escaped from a charging jumbo in Kothigutta village on Friday night.
A large group of villagers, mostly young people, had gathered in the edge of the forest to see the wild jumbos. A teen tried to venture near the herd to take a selfie but ran for his life after a jumbo chased him. The young person was injured moderately after stumbling on the floor and was admitted to a hospital. His condition is said to be out of danger.
“Currently, the concentration of wild elephants in large numbers has caused fear among the farmers as they are busy with the hectic field work for the Kharif season. Although there is enough forage and water in the forests, the pachyderms are attracted to the sugar cane, rice and tomato crops. We have advised the farmers to give up the night watch and move in groups, in addition to wearing white clothes, ”said the DFO.
The efforts of the forest rangers and elephant hunters to drive the herds into the woods were delayed by the presence of calves. Mr. Ravi Shankar said that nearly a dozen calves were sighted in the herds.