A herd of wild elephants entered a tribal resettlement project at Karpurakkad, near Sugandhagiri, in Wayanad on Wednesday and destroyed crops on about nine acres of land.
The animals destroyed hundreds of plantains on three acres of land owned by C. Annan, a tribal farmer. Hundreds of coconut, areca nut, and coffee trees on close to six acres of land, owned by five other tribal farmers, were destroyed, in the crop raiding.
The herd of seven elephants, including a calf, had been roaming the area for two days, Mr. Annan said. “Hence, we are afraid to send our children to schools, and the settlers cannot go to the market even in day time,” he said.
The forest officials on being alerted, drove out the herd to the adjacent forest, C.K. Kelappan, a tribesmen, said. But the same night, they came back and destroyed the crops, he added. The government had rehabilitated 100 tribal families on a piece of vested forest land in the area in 2003 under the Sugandhagiri cardamom project.
“Though five acres of land have been allotted to each tribal family under the project, we are not in a position to cultivate any crops on the land owing to wild animal attacks,” Mr. Kelappan said.
The forest officials said the area was adjacent to the Kurichiarmala and the Kakkayam forests. “We think that the herd came from either of the forests and all steps would be taken to drive them out to the adjacent forests,” an official said.
Two similar incidents were reported from Thirunelly and Boys Town area adjacent to the North Wayanad forest division on Wednesday. Pachyderms destroyed crops on 10 acres of land at Thirunelly and on five acres at Boys Town.