KRISHNAGIRI: A forest guard was trampled to death by a wild elephant near Singarpettai in Krishnagiri district on Friday night.
State Forests Minister N. Selvaraj placed a wreath on Pachamuthu’s body at the Uthangarai Government Hospital on Saturday and handed over a cheque for Rs.25,000 to his son P. Anandan.
Mr. Selvaraj told reporters that a herd of nine wild elephants, including four calves, entered the Elavambadi forest area in Krishnagiri from Jamunamarathupatti in Andhra Pradesh a week back. The Elavambadi forest area is not a regular elephant corridor. As the elephants did not find water and food in the forest, they entered the adjacent hamlets. To prevent wild animals from entering human habitats, the Forest Department had dug percolation ponds and small water tanks. In spite of this, wild elephants, boars and bisons stray into human habitats adjacent to forests.
As many as 378 check-dams and 27,606 percolation ponds were built in the reserve forest areas in the State to augment drinking water facilities for the wild animals. A total of Rs.85.96 lakh was distributed as relief to farmers for the crop loss they incurred due to straying of wild animals in the State during 2007-08. A total of Rs.71.93 lakh was distributed for crop loss caused by wild animals during 2006-07. The amount was Rs.85.96 lakh during 2007-08 and Rs.1.15 crore in the last financial year.
The worst-hit areas in Krishnagiri district are Thali, Hosur and Denkanikottai. A sum of Rs.20 lakh was distributed to 400 farmers for crop loss and Rs.35 lakh was disbursed for the loss of 35 lives in these areas, he added.