By Syed Akbar
CHITTOOR: An angry herd of elephants kept on trumpeting and roaring for hours together scaring away people living in nearby hamlets in the forest area of Ramakuppam in Chittoor district on Friday after one of its members died due to electric shock. The herd consisting of 13 pachyderms was crossing the agricultural fields at Ramapuram tanda of Nakkalgutta in the forest area of Ramakuppam when an elephant came in contact with a live electric wire set up by poachers to trap wild boars and deer.
As the elephant lay dead, the other members in the herd surrounded it and started trumpeting loudly. The wails echoed in the forests causing panic among people living in neighbouring villages. Some of the villagers ran for safety. A team of forest officials visited the spot and advised people against venturing near the angry pachyderms.
The trumpeting continued for hours. Even forest officials did not go near the herd. Later, senior forest officials conducted panchanama and sent the dead elephant for post mortem examination. A case has been registered. About 30 elephants have been camping in the forest area in Chittoor district for the last 25 days. Last week, a herd of elephants disrupted train traffic on the busy Chennai-Bangalore rail road by squatting on the railway tracks.
Incidents of poachers and farmers setting up electric fencing in areas abutting the forests have been increasing with authorities turning a blind eye to the menace. Kuppam and Ramakuppam areas fall in the junction of two major national parks in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and elephants of late prefer staying in Chittoor district for a few days while crossing between the two neighbouring states. Forest officials point out that elephants have started liking juicy tomatoes that are grown in the border areas of Chittoor district, which otherwise is not a traditional habitat of the pachyderms.