A herd of 23 elephants which entered the agriculture fields in Bilimuthirai village near Denkanikottai village was driven away away by the officials and forest employees into the Noganur Reserve Forests on Wednesday afternoon.

The herd of 23 female elephants including 6 calves emerged from the Reserve Forest at about 7.30 a.m. On receiving the information, Forest Officials headed by Mr. K. Ramachandran, Ranger, Denkanikottai, drove them into the forest with the help of the local residents, Mr. A.K. Ulaganathan, District Forest Officer said.

He told The Hindu over the phone that the herd will be moved to its original elephant path via Panai Forest from Noganur, Jawalagiri Reserve Forests, and will proceed to Karnataka.

The female adult elephants from the herd were attracted to the ragi and horse gram (kollu) cultivated in the agricultural lands adjoining the Reserve Forests. These crops contain the nutrition required for the lactating mothers to feed their calves. A calf needs at least 4 gallons (18.5 litre) of milk per day from its mother.

As the harvest season of the two crops were over, the herd had migrated from neighbouring Karnataka and should return to the original path, hopes Mr. Ulaganathan.

Another herd of 29

Meanwhile, a herd of 29 elephants which crossed the Krishnatiri-Bangalore National Highway near Perandapalli crossed over to Andhra on Tuesday. The herd which entered into Kuppam town was wandering near a lake on Wednesday, an official said.

The herd has either moved to Karanataka or will return to Tamilnadu via Krishnagiri district. The forest officials are ready to receive the animals and lead them back to the Reserve Forests in the area without any loss of human or animal life, Mr. Ulaganathan adds.

A one-year-old calf was separated from the herd while crossing over to the forests was sent back to the herd by the officials. The mother elephant dung mix was poured on the calf, so as to identify its mother while rejoining the herd, the official explained.

Keywords: elephant herd