By K. Raju
Forest Department officials said drought and monsoon failure caused water and food shortage for wild animals in the reserve forests of Kodaikanal.
A herd of elephants that camped in the Five House area on Palani-Kodaikanal Highway in search of food and water destroyed a banana farm and crashed an electric post on Friday morning, plunging the entire area into darkness.
Around 15 elephants have been roaming the area for the past one week. They have moved here from the Palar dam area in the Palani forest range. With all water sources in the plains gone dry, the animals moved to the high-ridge areas.
Forest Department officials said drought and monsoon failure caused water and food shortage for wild animals in the reserve forests of Kodaikanal. The officials have reached the spot and worked out a plan to chase the elephants away.
Villagers said they climbed trees or ran down the slopes on seeing the elephants in the morning. They appealed to the Forest Department to chase them to interior forests. Sighting the animals is also a problem as they stand behind giant trees in dense forests. “Even as they stood close to us, we could not see them,” villagers said.
The elephants have been posing a threat to houses in remote areas and on private farms. Small houses are their main targets. Forest Department officials said the animals had neither water nor food on the five-km stretch from the Palar dam to Pethuparai.