Staff Reporter

Each group is headed by a Ranger

Hosur: The Forest Department has formed four special teams to monitor the movement of wild elephants in the Hosur forest division. The teams would announce to villagers the presence of elephants in farmland and the precautionary measures to be taken, District Forest Officer S. Paulraj said here on Monday.

Each team, headed by a Ranger, was supplied with wireless sets and powerful headlights to provide information on the elephants in the Denkanikottai, Thally, Jawalagiri and Anchetti forest ranges.

Straying of wild elephants into agricultural land was regular during the harvest season from December to January.

Forest Department sources said till date, two persons, including a woman, were trampled to death by wild elephants and acres of crops, including sugarcane, ragi, banana and maize, was destroyed in the Hosur division.

Though the department announced compensation to the farmers, irate villagers blamed it for failing to take action to chase the elephants back into the forests.

Villagers scare the elephants away from the farmlands, beating drums and bursting firecrackers at night.

The elephants had strayed into human habitations also due to the expansion of agricultural areas (encroachments) on the traditional migratory corridor of the elephants, they said.

Mr. Paulraj said that the elephants would never move into human habitat unless their migratory corridor was disturbed.

The priority of the Forest Department was to chase the elephants into the forests only at night as the herds refused to come out of their hideout during daytime.

Again, during daytime, there was a possibility of elephants running amok causing damage to both property and life.

The Department asked farmers to remove harvested crops from the fields immediately and not to venture into the forests.