Forest Department urged to dig trenches to keep the animals away
Though used to living in a wild animal infested area, residents of Chembakolli, a tribal hamlet along the line separating the Gudalur forest division and the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), have of late been spending sleepless nights.
The reason is frequent entry of wild elephants into their village. Pointing out that for the past about six months it has become a major source of concern, village head M. Suresh told The Hindu here on Friday that either herds or lone elephants have started straying into the village.
Stating that for the past few days a female elephant and its calf have become a constant presence between dusk and dawn, he said he hoped that the forest department would dig a trench to keep the pachyderms away.
He added that on Thursday night, the elephants damaged three houses and broke household items.
Over the last six months, eleven houses had been damaged. In the village, where about 140 families resided, about 25 of the children were school-going. Their parents have to escort them in the morning and evening. Stating that they have submitted petitions to various persons, he said he hoped that action would be taken soon.
The Deputy Director, MTR, A. Ameer Haja, when contacted, said that the village formed part of a reserve forest which was in the Gudalur Forest Division.
Hence a joint inspection will be carried out and the proper places for digging trenches would be identified. To a question, he said that funds were not a constraint.
Our Coimbatore Staff Reporter adds:
An elephant herd broke through the gates of the Ponoothamman Temple in the Ponoothu hillock near Pannimadai to gain access to water and food materials kept in the kitchen.
A Forest Department team that went to the spot had deduced by looking at the footprints that six elephants including a calf had entered the temple.
The elephants’ entry into the temple came to light on Friday morning when villagers went there as part of their morning walk.
After noticing the gate open and articles strewn around, they alerted the seniors in the village, the priest Nagaraj, Nanjundapuram Panchayat president Sundararaj and Forest Department officials.
The sources said that the elephants had damaged the plates used to offer prasadam and other vessels used to perform prayers.
They had thrown away the clothes used to dress up the deity.
After washing the temple, the villagers resumed daily prayers.