Villagers block road seeking protection from lone tusker

Coimbatore: Demanding that a lone tusker ravaging crops and damaging houses be shifted to another location, villagers from Anaikatti blocked the Alamara Medu Road on Monday. The elephant, , had been staying in the forest range for more than a year and feeding off their crops including maize, .
Chinna Thambi usually moves around Chinna Thadagam, Nanjundapuram and 24 Veerapandi for a few days before climbing to Periya Thadagam, Mankarai and Anaikatti before it gets shoed away to Marudhamalai area, said Joshua, a social activist from the area.

Whenever the elephant is scared away, it goes to Marudhamalai area for a few days only to return to Mankarai, Kondanar and Anaikatti areas again, the villagers said. “It has grown fond of our area because we cultivate crops like maize, sugarcane and banana. It gets water from a stream flowing through the area,” Joshua told TOI.

The elephant had even tried to steal wheat and rice stored in houses in the locality, the protesters said. “It had damaged roofs, walls and even entire house during such raids,” Joshua added.

Police and forest department officials met the villagers and convinced them to abandon the protest. “We had deployed a Jeep and 10 staff near Kondanar village to monitor the wild tusker and scare it away. But the villagers want us to trap, tranquilize and shift it to another area. But, such an operation need the approval of the state forest department, forest minister and the chief conservator of forests,” forest ranger Suresh said.

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