Farmers in the district are spending sleepless nights protecting their ragi and maize crops from wild elephants that frequently enter human habitations and agricultural fields on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border.
The crops, cultivated on about 4,000 acres, are ready for harvest.
The farmers demand that the State take permanent measures to prevent the elephants from entering human habitations and assess the extent of crop loss in order to provide adequate compensation. According to farmers in Hosur, Denkanikotta and Thally forest regions, elephants from the reserve forest area in Karnataka were straying into the State and destroying crops. They claimed that around 130 elephants entered human habitations a few days ago in three to four herds in search of food and water. A herd of 40 elephants, in particular, had been causing extensive damage to crops since Tuesday.
The pachyderms destroyed crops raised on 50 acres in Udhanapalli, Balepuram, Narapalli, Kothur and Lalikal on Wednesday. Two days ago, crops such as cowpea, tur, maize and ragi cultivated on 20 acres in Osadoddi village, were damaged. Although farmers and Forest officials chased the elephants into the Sanamavu forest area, farmers fear that the animals might return unless they are chased into the deep forests in Karnataka.
District Forest Officer Ulaganathan said that the elephants were straying into the fields as they were attracted by the mature ragi crop. He claimed that the Forest Department had taken maximum efforts to prevent the elephants from entering the fields.