Madurai

Translocate killer elephant, say Thevaram farmers

Farmers taking part at the grievance day meet held at the Collectorate in Theni on Friday.

Farmers taking part at the grievance day meet held at the Collectorate in Theni on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Government to dig trenches, erect a five-layer bio-fence for five km and a watch tower to monitor movement of the animal, says DFO.

A group of farmers from Thevaram petitioned the Collector and the District Forest Officer on Friday demanding translocation of a rogue elephant that has been entering farmlands near Thevaram. The wild elephant has so far killed 14 people, mainly watchmen who guard the farms during night, said the farmers during the grievance meet.

“We are caught between guarding our crops and our lives,” said K. Murugan of Thevaram Vivasayigal Sangam. “The elephant has been a habitual offender descending from the mountains during evenings, damaging crops and killing people. Even after repeated representation to the officials, no action has been taken. The forest department deploy their men for a few days after an incident to drive away the elephant but that’s only a temporary relief. We want a permanent solution to the issue,” he demanded.

They pushed for a gun license for self defence against the animal. “The toll has touched 14 in the last four years including the man who died in an elephant attack this month. Human lives are more important and the elephant should be either translocated or shot down,” said Benitto Paulraj, a social worker and agriculturist.

“We are also facing problem from wild boar. In Kerala, the government allows selective culling of wild boars as their population has increased exponentially. Kerala has also translocated troublesome wild elephants apart from offering a compensation of ₹10 lakh for those killed by elephants. The same policies should be implemented in Tamil Nadu,” added Murugan.

In Thevaram, the elephant visits the farmlands during the same season, every year, that is from June to July, when the tapioca crop matures. “The animal has been feeding on the tuber. It tramples groundnut crops, causing loss for farmers,” said Murugan.

District Forest Officer S. Gowtham pacified the farmers saying that a fund of ₹1 crore has been earmarked for finding solution to the problem. “We are waiting for the sanction. The government has planned to dig elephant-proof trenches, erect a five-layer bio-fence for five km and a watch tower to monitor movement of the animal,” he said. He recalled that efforts to translocate the elephant with the help of kumkis had failed twice earlier.

“We have done a study and found that only six elephants are using the area as home range, of which only one is a trouble-maker. A solution to the issue will be arrived at very soon,” he added.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:34:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/translocate-killer-elephant-urge-thevaram-farmers/article28106847.ece

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