A 65-year-old retired tea estate worker was killed in an elephant attack in O’Valley in Gudalur forest range on Sunday.
The man, identified as Sivanandi, had strayed into a wooded area in the region to gather firewood on early Sunday morning. As he failed to return home, his family informed local residents who formed a search party to look for Sivanandi. After an intense search, Sivanandi was found dead near an estate area by residents who informed the local police and the Forest Department.
The body was retrieved and when it was being taken for postmortem, residents blocked the road and demanded that the Forest Department find a “permanent solution” to negative human-elephant interactions in the region. They also demanded that elephants be driven away from the area and that a member of Sivanandi’s family be given a government job. After the local Revenue Divisional Officer (Gudalur) and the Forest Department staff held discussions with residents, they relented and allowed the body to be taken for postmortem.
It may be noted that O-Valley is an important elephant corridor that has become one of the hotspots for negative human-elephant interactions in the region due to illegal encroachments and the cultivation of crops that attract elephants into human habitations. The Forest Department has been appealing to residents to not grow such crops, while also trying to protect elephant pathways from further encroachments. The next of kin of the deceased was given ₹ 50,000 as interim compensation.