By Basavaraj .F Kattimani
HUBBALLI: People of Kambarganavi, Kambarkoppa and other surrounding villages of Alnavar of Dharwad taluk are living in fear of being attacked by wild elephants for the past few days. The elephants have turned into a menace as they have destroyed standing crops, leaving farmers in distress.
Three days ago, villagers had spotted a herd of five to six wild elephants moving in their fields. After spotting them, villagers are now scared of going to their fields and concerned about protecting their lives and properties in the villages.
Ismail, a villager, says the elephants are roaming freely in their villages and destroying paddy, sugarcane and other standing crops. "When we tried to chase them away, they came towards us menacingly. Luckily for us, we ran away and escaped. But now, villagers are worried about their safety and of their crops," he said.
As there has been erratic power supply in the village, people are not venturing out during night time in their fields and it is worrisome, say the villagers.
Some villagers also said that as they live on the fringes of forest areas, forest department should make some permanent arrangement to protect their crops and lives from wild animals, mainly elephants in this region. "We have already informed the forest department of %spotting a herd of wild elephants, and after our request, the department is involved in an operation to trap them," said a villager.
Locals suspect that the %wild elephants, looking for food, had strayed into villages from the adjacent forest area of Kittur.
Speaking to STOI, Parimala, range forest officer, Dharwad, said they have visited the villages and are still camping in Kambarkoppa and Kambarganavi villages to scare away the wild elephants. "Our team of around 15 forest personnel along with additional force from Golihalli range of Belgaum district and some villagers are trying their best to scare away the wild elephants. As part of our operation to scare away elephants, we are making noises by beating drums in forest area, created smoke and using other methods as well," she said, adding, "Wild elephants have destroyed paddy and sugarcane crops of farmers, but there has been no instance of any attack by elephants." "People need not panic about wild elephants as we are now keeping an eye on their movement and we are also camping in villages to ensure the safety of villagers. We still don't know from which place these elephants strayed into Kambarganavi and Kambarkoppa villages," she said.