Irate residents of Thondamuthur near Coimbatore on Wednesday staged a road blockade seeking an end to human-animal conflict, after an elephant trampled a 55-year-old woman to death.

It is learnt that the victim, Murugammal, was sleeping outside the house of Velusamy. On hearing the movement of a herd of elephants, Velusamy came out running and ran for his life after alerting the elderly woman to escape. However, one of the elephants lifted the woman, threw her down and trampled her, causing instant death.

Angered over the death, residents staged a road blockade demanding permanent remedial measures to human-animal conflicts that resulted in the loss of lives and damage to crops.

Police, Revenue and Forest officials tried to pacify the residents.

With the situation becoming tense, District Forest Officer M. Senthil Kumar held talks with the agitated residents.

Conceding the requests of the residents, Mr. Senthil Kumar said that two more vehicles were being deployed for patrolling the fringe areas of the forests to monitor the movement of the herd.

In addition, anti-poaching and anti-depredation watchers are being deployed in more numbers to prevent the herd from straying into human habitations.

They will also scare away the elephants deep into the forests in the event of a conflict. Villagers are being provided with additional powerful search lights and torch lights.

Mr. Senthil Kumar also added that it has been decided to have a meeting with the villagers to ascertain their problems on a periodical basis every month, so as to initiate remedial measures on a real-time basis.

The District Forest Officer (DFO) will attend the meeting once a month for issues that required higher level attention and remedies involving monetary implications.

Meanwhile, a herd of wild elephants strayed into human habitations in and around Valparai, damaged public distribution system outlets and destroyed the commodities stored there.

In the last few days, elephants had been moving around in Periyakallar, Pannimadai, Injiparai and Iyerpadi areas.

Officials from the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) have deployed more forest personnel in the area to monitor the movement of the herd to prevent it from straying into human habitations.

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