There were anxious moments for staff of a rehabilitation home for the mentally-challenged at Thadagam on Friday night when an elephant entered the premises by breaking open its gates.
The centre accommodates about 55 patients. Even though the pachyderm left in a few minutes, staff and caretakers hesitated to venture out. However, patients at the centre were not disturbed by the incident as it occurred at midnight, an employee told Express. People in Thadagam had been living in fear over the activities of a single elephant that had been intruding into human habitations and causing problems for the past one month. Residents alleged that the Forest Department has done little to stop elephants.
K Mohan Raj, coordinator of Tamil Nadu Green Movement, said that blocking of the elephant corridor was one of the major factors responsible for the ongoing jumbo menace. Moreover, the proliferation of several industries had also had an adverse effect. The kilns used palm trees as fuel to make bricks which attracted elephants to enter human habitations, Raj explained.
Environmentalist C R Jayaprakash opined that measures adopted by Forest Department to stop elephants, such as erecting solar fences and digging trenches had been futile.