SRIKAKULAM: A parade of wild elephants, which strayed from the forests of the neighbouring state of Odisha, is giving sleepless nights to the people of rural and agency areas in four mandals of the district for some time now. According to sources, four elephants are roaming in the forest area of Padali village in Hiramandalam mandal, fearing which people are not sending their children to schools and also restraining themselves from venturing out of their houses.
The terror struck long back in 2007 when as many as 11 jumbos from the dense forests of Odisha sneaked into Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts, and were destroying crops in several acres and attacking the human habitations along the border areas, triggering tension among the locals. The government, subsequently, had initiated a mega operation to send off the wild guests back for which a trained elephant, Jayanti was roped in. After a 22-day operation, the tuskers were moved back into the dense forests of Odisha.
Later, the then Andhra Pradesh government planned to develop an Elephant Zone, covering six mandals of the two north Andhra districts, which, however, was put on the backburner following protests by the tribals against the proposal. Ever since, the jumbos kept straying into the state every year and were assaulting people.
With the recent death of S Murali of Padali village in Hiramandal mandalam, besides a local scribe, the toll reached 12 during the past seven years.
After holding several brain-storming sessions with wild life experts and senior forest officials, several proposals were sent to the government for keeping a check on jumbo menace. The proposals included construction of check-dams, development of water bodies and erection of solar power fencing at all vulnerable locations, among others, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, the forest officials recently identified the bodies of five elephants in the forest of which three died due to health problems, while the other two were killed. At present, four tuskers are roaming in Padali village.