S. Sidharth chose to trek alone to Vellingiri Temple on Friday to mark his birthday

Twenty-one-year-old S. Sidharth who has just completed production engineering in a city college escaped from a pack of wild dogs that tried to attack him when he was on a trek to Vellingiri Temple in Poondi Hills, on his birthday on Friday.

According to M.S. Parthiban, Range Officer of Booluvampatty Range, Sidharth, who had earlier been to Vellingiri Hills with a group at least thrice, chose to trek alone on Friday to mark his birthday.

He was carrying a mobile phone with Global Positioning System (GPS) and was able to send a call for help to his friends when wild dogs gathered ahead on the path and began howling at him. Using the Android phone, he was able to pinpoint his position.

Sidharth said, “Exactly on the 47th minute of my trek from the foothills, when I had covered about 215 metres of altitude, I saw a wild dog close by and it started howling. As I proceeded, I saw a pack of seven to eight wild dogs blocking my way and it looked like a response to the howling by the first wild dog I had seen.

“I tried locating myself with the help of GPS and Google Map and then called my friends over the phone as my ear phones were already plugged in. I narrated my encounter with the wild dogs.

“Thereafter, I started looking for ways to escape while my friends co-ordinated the rescue and help for me.

“All this happened, when I had reached the second hill, of the seven hills on which the Poondi Vellingiri Andavar Temple is located,” he said

“Acting on advice that came through the mobile, I tried to climb a nearby tree but a wild dog blocked my access to the tree. Then I started descending my way back to the foothills in a slow pace, battling hard to scare and keep the wild dogs at bay.

Police

“Meanwhile, my friends had informed the police control room, who in turn had alerted the District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukkarasu.”

The DFO immediately directed Forest Ranger M.S. Parthiban to rush with a team to the rescue of Sidharth.

The team that went up the hill was equipped to scare and chase away the wild dogs and they continued to stay in touch over phone with the victim in distress to ascertain the location and to know the number of wild dogs.

Sidharth said that he was able to take some calls but could not take a few of them, as the wild dogs were almost close to him i.e., within the possible range of attacking him.

After a chase for nearly 12 to 15 minutes while the victim was descending, the wild dogs gave up and at this point help reached the victim.

Forest officials took Sidharth to the range office and handed him over to his mother Soundari and sister Preethi, as father Sundarrajan was away at Mumbai. He was let off with a warning.

Mr.Parthiban said that a board has been kept at the Poondi foothills clearly stating that venturing into the forest that too alone, without the permission of the department is an offence under Section 21 (b) of Tamil Nadu Forest Act 1882. The offence could attract punishment of up to six months.

Mr.Parthiban said that an unarmed, inexperienced person escaping from one wild dog itself was not possible and the escape of Sidharth is a miraculous one.

He said that right from the British period, right of way for devotees to visit the temple at the seventh hill is given only during April and May.

During this period the Forest Department would deploy guards and patrol the area for safety.

But in a period when there was no right of way, venturing alone was not only unlawful but also unsafe, he said.

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