An eight-member herd of wild elephants, including a calf, which wreaked havoc in the fields of Bangarupalem mandal, creating panic among farmers in half a dozen hamlets, was driven back into the forests of Tamil Nadu on Monday night.
The herd, which strayed into the fields of the border with Chittoor district two weeks ago, continued to linger for a long time owing to the presence of the calf, and the exercise launched by the Forest Department personnel from Chittoor and Palamaner progressed slowly. In view of the Ramasamudram mandal episode a couple of months ago, where a wild elephant from Karnataka trampled a farmer to death after being chased by the villagers, the officials advised the residents of Bangarupalem not to tease the herd. After a five-day operation, the personnel drove the herd back to its original habitat. Divisional Forest Officer (Chittoor West) T. Chakrapani, and Forest Range Officer (Palamaner) G. Sivanna inspected the fringe hamlets on Tuesday, and initiated measures to erect fence and dig trenches at the vulnerable stretches of forest bordering Tamil Nadu.
The officials told farmers, who complained to them about crop loss due to raids by pachyderms, that their problem would be looked into and brought to the notice of the government.
Meanwhile, farmers at Mogilivaripalle, Tekumanda and Kodalamadugu villages heaved a sigh of relief as they are all set to raise their rabi crops, while some of the horticulture crops are ready for harvest.