CHITOOR: In a 'mammoth' display of strength and anger, a herd of elephants went on the rampage, blocking traffic for hours after one of their members was killed by an over speeding car on the Krishnagiri-Hosur national highway late on Tuesday night.
The pachyderms seething with rage attacked the accused car and mangled it beyond repair. Luckily, the two occupants managed to escape unhurt.
The incident took place in a forest area, 35 km away from Kuppam town of Chittoor district on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border. According to forest officials, a herd of 10 elephants were crossing over to Andhra Pradesh from Karnataka via Tamil Nadu when a car moving at a high speed hit a pachyderm, killing it on the spot. Soon after the accident, the herd started trumpeting and hitting the vehicle. Traffic on the busy national highway was disrupted for about four hours as the angry herd did not relent.
Later, a team of forest and police officials rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. Dharmapuri district forest officer Rajendran told TOI that the dead elephant was a two-year-old female calf. "The car hit the animal on the side resulting in its death. The air bags in the car saved the occupants," the DFO said.
According to Rajendran, every year about 150 elephants migrate between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka between November and March. They often stay in Andhra Pradesh for food and water. They return to Karnataka during April.
Elephants like humans, exhibit anger and become easily agitated when provoked. They also go out of their way to help members of their own species and often help other animals in the forests too. Forest officials point out that the display of solidarity by the elephants to the deceased member of their herd is a natural reaction.
This is the second incident in the last three months of elephants losing their temper on the AP-TN border villages. A herd of pachyderms created panic, roaring and trumpeting for hours together in Chittoor district a couple of months ago after one of members died due to an electric shock while crossing agricultural fields. A farmer had erected the electric fence to ward off wild boars. Elephants had also killed two people including a forest watcher in the border villages during the current migratory season.