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Growers find novel ways to keep away wild elephants

Madikeri, Srikanth Kallammanavar, June 20, 2013, DHNS:
Jackfruits spread on the roadside in Aiguru near Somwarpet. DH Photo

Wild elephant menace in the coffee plantations in various parts of Kodagu has been increasing every passing day. The reason for the increase in the elephants entry into coffee plantations is the jackfruits and bananas grown in the coffee plantations, which draw attention of the elephants in search of food.† In order to save their coffee plantations from elephants, coffee growers have begun to destroy banana and jackfruit yields in their plantations.

Wild elephant menace is rampant in Aiguru, Kandanakolli, Kodlipet in Somwarpet taluk and Srimangala, Ammathi, Ponnampet in Virajpet taluk. Forests in these areas mostly comprise of teak wood which is why elephants are falling short of food. In addition, the water pits dug to supply water to coffee plants too are inviting elephants to enter coffee plantations to drink water. Repeated requests of the villagers to the forest department to chase elephants back to the forest have gone futile. It can be recalled that a two wheeler rider was killed by a wild elephant near Aiguru a fortnight ago.

Disappointed over the lukewarm response from the forest department and the failure of solar fencing, now the coffee growers have found their own ways to keep away the elephants by destroying fruit bearing plants like banana and jackfruit in their estates. One can view jackfruits piled up on the roadside near Aiguru on the way from Madikeri to Somwarpet. Growers hope the elephants to hog these jackfruits instead of entering into their plantations.

In fact, some of the growers have also made attempts to cut jackfruit trees, but could not as they do not posses the trees rights. In many estates, the coffee growers have cut the banana plants.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, coffee plantation labour Murugesh said that with the broken solar fences, the coffee growers have no other option but to cut jackfruit and banana plantations.


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