Andhra Pradesh

Lone elephant tramples shepherd to death

A lone elephant on Sunday evening trampled a shepherd to death, while a group of forest personnel escaped unhurt from its charge at a forest location at the foot of Nandi hillock between Somala and Irala mandals.

Divisional Forest Officer (Chittoor West) S. Ravi Shankar, confirming the tusker’s attack, said the pachyderm was coming down the hillock from the Somala forests where the shepherd was grazing cattle.

“Unfortunately, the deceased was wearing white clothes, which is considered very dangerous in front of a wild elephant. The animal trampled him to death on the spot. The elephant also charged our staff members who were tracking its movements nearby, but they could run to safety,” the official said.

The DFO said the lone elephant strayed into the hilly terrain of Somala mandal from the Palamaneru range several days ago.

Tragedy struck the shepherd, identified as Abulaiah (50), when the animal was on its return path.

Late in the night, the elephant was seen moving close to a mango orchard in Puthalapattu mandal.

Ex gratia announced

Meanwhile, Puthalapattu MLA M.S. Babu said the government announced an ex gratia of ₹5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

“We have arranged tom-tom in all the vulnerable villages to give up night vigil in the fields and avoid coming out along lonely roads,” Mr. Ravi Shankar said.

The human casualty was the fourth in the western mandals since June 2020.

Herd raids crops

Meanwhile, the three-member herd of wild elephants, which strayed into Chittoor district from Tamil Nadu forest three weeks ago, continued to raid crops at the villages in Vadamalapeta mandal.

On Sunday, the forest personnel resumed their assignment to drive the herd back into the nearby thickets.

Since the herd had travelled over 150 km through the new terrain along forested land and denuded jungles, efforts to drive it back into its habitat turned impossible.

At the same time, diverting the jumbos towards the Seshachalam ranges also turned tough considering the terrain with fields and orcherds in between Vadamalapeta and Panapakam, or any nearest point of the Tirumala hills.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 6:35:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/lone-elephant-tramples-shepherd-to-death/article33595606.ece

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