Elephant herds camp in coffee plantations in Kodagu

Elephant herds camp in coffee plantations in Kodagu

They move from one plantation to another in search of food

A herd of elephants crosses the road near Mayamudi in Kodagu district.

Pachyderms have converted coffee plantations into forests as they keep wandering in the plantations in South Kodagu all the time.

The elephants are often seen on highways and plantation roads in broad daylight. This has made people in the region panic.

Wild elephants are seen at a distance of 25 km from Nagarahole forest. They have not been returning to the forest and are moving from one plantation to another, in search of food.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the movement of people on the highways and the coffee plantation roads became less. In this situation, the elephants came towards the plantations and now, they are not going back to the forests.

After bamboo and other plants in the forest dried up, there is no fodder left for the elephants. There are very few fruit-bearing trees in Nagarahole. A majority of the trees comprise rosewood and lantana. This has resulted in a shortage of fodder for elephants.

According to the experts, an elephant needs 200 kg of food per day. Hence, they have been targeting the plantain, coconut and areca plants in the coffee plantations.

Even though the forest department officials drive the elephants towards the forest, the pachyderms return to the coffee plantations in two to three days. 

Even after railway fences were installed on the forest borders, spending crores of rupees, the elephants cross the fences, for the sake of food.

This has also been resulting in the death of people. Twenty days ago, a 60-year-old man was mauled to death by a tusker, near Titimati.

Fifteen days back, another person who was on his morning walk, in PHS Colony, was killed by an elephant.

A herd of 13 elephants created panic after crossing the Gonikoppa-Ponnampet state highway the next day. The elephant herds are still spotted on the state highway.

PHS Colony resident Kanda Devaiah said that the elephants are camping in a nearby plantation, which is 20 km away from Nagarahole.

Mayamudi Gram Panchayat member Apattira Tatu Monnappa said that elephant herds are often seen in the coffee plantation in the Mayamudi region.

Many people in the region have left the place, due to fear.

Zilla Panchayat former member B N Prathyu said that the forest department should take action to drive the elephants back to the forest, on a daily basis, in order to prevent the loss of lives.

Aruvattoklu Gram Panchayat member A A Sajan Changappa warned of initiating severe protests against the forest department if the elephant menace is not controlled.

Titimati ACF Uttappa said that the elephants are coming towards coffee plantations, to feed on jack fruits.

The elephants are driven to the forests and forest personnel are deployed for the work near the forests, he added.

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