Fear gripped residents in villages bordering with Tamil Nadu, in Chittoor rural and Gudipala mandals, as an elephant herd was sighted moving closer to human habitations.
The herd was first sighted around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, but its movement became conspicuous after 3 a.m. on Wednesday. The herd of eleven pachyderms is believed to have two calves, which is cited to be the reason for its sluggish movement. Officials are worried over the presence of calves as they are feared to make tuskers aggressive on sighting humans.
Officials from the Forest Department used tom-tom drums to alert farmers, orchard watchmen and shepherds about the possible movement of elephants in the vicinity and were advised to move to safer places.
Power supply cut
Power supply to agricultural connections was also snapped to avoid possible electrocution.
The field staff have been deployed to chase the elephants away beyond Kotalam, the last village in Chittoor district, beyond which there is a dense forest. Forest officials The Hindu spoke to express the opinion that it could be the same herd that ransacked mango orchards in February early this year. The herd is believed to have forayed into Kuppam-Palamaner belt from Karnataka, and then ventured into Paradarami area of Tamil Nadu, only to surface again in Chittoor rural and Gudipala mandals now.
Though Koundinya reserve forest on the Palamaner side has solar-powered fencing, there is no such luxury on this side.
The officials are perplexed at the trespass, which happened despite the 3m deep and 3m wide trench dug along the forest border to keep the elephants away.
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