A lone elephant kills farmer, after he leaves hamlet following a tiff with family members, in Andhra Pradesh’s Kuppam region

The incident occurred when the deceased Kanna Naik (70) was on his way to the field abutting the forests in the early hours.

Published - June 16, 2024 11:34 am IST - CHITTOOR

Representational image only.

Representational image only.

A lone elephant on June 16 created terror at the PMK Tanda in the Kuppam Assembly constituency, by fatally attacking a farmer.

The incident occurred when the deceased Kanna Naik (70) was on his way to the field abutting the forests in the early hours. It is observed that the lone elephant has been on the prowl between the forests of Tamil Nadu and Kuppam region during the last fortnight. Forest and police officials visited the spot and shifted the body to the area hospital for autopsy.

Also read | Waking to the call OF THE WILD

District Forest Officer (DFO) C. Chaitanya Kumar Reddy told The Hindu that the farmer after a tiff with his family members had ventured close to the forest at an unusual hour, despite warning that the region was frequented by wild elephants, coupled with the presence of two lone elephants.

“In the last one week, I visited the PMK Thanda twice and alerted the villagers to avoid night vigils at the fields and moving at nights alone. We will provide the family members of Kanna Naik with ₹5 lakh as ex-gratia,” he said.

However, residents residing in the forested hamlets expressed their anger at the forest officials, citing the failure to effectively prevent elephant attacks, despite their repeated appeals. This failure is attributed to insufficient staffing levels, particularly in the role of elephant trackers, resulting in limited knowledge of the elephants’ movements.

The Kuppam Constituency, boasting the largest expanse of forest land, has been home to elephants for the past four decades.

The reappearance of the species in the region after a hiatus of two hundred years resulted in the Forest Department officials previously maintaining detailed records of the elephants’ movements through village community members involved in conservation activities, facilitating timely alerts to villages bordering the forest. “This proactive approach has been neglected, leading to loss of life, property, and crops in recent years,” the farmers deplored.

Over the past three decades, numerous villagers have succumbed to the human-elephant conflict in the region, with elephants wreaking havoc on the hard-earned crops of farmers during night raids.

The return of Telugu Desam Party president and Kuppam MLA N. Chandrababu Naidu as the Chief Minister and Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan assuming the role of the Forest Minister, has kindled hope among farmers in the Kuppam and Palamaner mandals, the core belt of the Koundinya wildlife sanctuary, with a presence of both resident and migratory elephants, numbering around one hundred. They anticipate the end of their plight and the advent of a scientific resolution to the elephant menace.

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