TAMIL NADU

Kumkis to push wild elephants into forest

STRATEGY SESSION: District Forest Officer D. Arun (left), explaining the strategy to drive away the elephant herd from Poiyappatti, near Harur, on Tuesday.

STRATEGY SESSION: District Forest Officer D. Arun (left), explaining the strategy to drive away the elephant herd from Poiyappatti, near Harur, on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: N. Bashkaran

Staff Reporter

Forest Department to adopt two-pronged strategy

HARUR (DHARMAPURI): The Forest Department will adopt a two-pronged strategy to push wild elephants back into the reserve forest area adjoining hamlets in Poyyappatti near Harur.

District Forest Officer D. Arun told The Hindu that a team of over 50 foresters and forest guards were gearing up to chase the herd towards the reserve forest area in Krishnagiri on Tuesday night.

Mr. Arun said one strategy was to send Kumki elephants brought from Chennai and Top Slip in Coimbatore to guide the herd towards Uthangarai area via Keelanur, Kothapatti, the Vaniyar river, the Pambar river and South Pennar. This would be ideal because it would not cause any problem to the public.

Another strategy was to drive the herd by bursting firecrackers and lighting torches. “We hope these strategies will work and prevent the elephants from entering the area where people live,” Mr. Arun said.

Kumki elephants Nanjan from Top Slip and Pari from the Chennai Zoological Park were brought here on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, elephants damaged two huts in Keelanur hamlet. Mr. Arun inspected the damage along with Harur Ranger S. Ramasamy and Morappur Ranger T. Manoharan. Forest Veterinary Officer N.S. Manoharan promised that the Forest Department would provide relief to the people after the revenue and forest officials assessed the damage. He also appealed to the people living in the hamlets adjoining the Poyyappati reserve forest not to venture out after dusk and switch on lights to prevent the elephants from entering their area.

People living within 100 metres of the forest area have been asked not to keep ragi, paddy, rice, millet and other food items inside their huts. As a precautionary measure, people residing in nearby hamlets were asked to move to safer places at night.

A proposal had been sent to the government to erect solar fencing along the reserve forest in Dharmapuri district to prevent animals such as spotted deer, bison and wild boars from entering areas of human habitation, Mr. Arun said.

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