COIMBATORE: Wild animals and farmers are at odds but not always. Meet Karuppusamy, a farmer in Viraliyur near Devarayapuram, who has left a pond over 50 cents of land in his grove for wild animals to quench their thirst.
Elephants, spotted deer, wild boars and even some cattle are all now frequent visitors to his grove.
"Till now, none of them have ever raided or destroyed my crops, including the tomatoes and onions that I grow,” he said.
Referring to a tusker that is believed to have killed a woman recently, he said he spotted the animal passing peacefully through his grove on Wednesday evening.
“Even that animal did not raid my crops. Another tusker that is thought to have destroyed banana plantations nearby left my crops untouched,” Karuppasamy said, adding that he’d seen herds of elephants of five to 15 jumbos, wild boars and spotted deer quenching their thirst at the pond.
As a sign of gratitude to the animals, he has been lighting camphor to the elephant god at his fields everyday.
According to Karuppusamy's son, K Nanda Kumar, the wild animals are drawn to the grove by the pond. There is no water facility for them nearby, he said.
"Now, even other farmers are bringing their cattle to the pond. We clean the water once a week,” Nanda Kumar said.
He said that since they’d switched to drip irrigation some years ago, they decided to leave the pond to the animals.
“It is our small effort to help mitigate man-animal conflict,” he smiled.