Coimbatore: In a tragic incident, a 60-year-old “mentally-ill” woman was trampled to death by a lone tusker at Selambanur village in Zakeernaickenpalayam panchayat here on Wednesday. It is the 12th such death caused by rampaging wild elephants in the district since January this year, pointing to an escalating man-animal conflict in forest ranges of Coimbatore.
An adult tusker, around 12 years old, that was on the prowl in the village located in Booluvampatty forest range had caught hold of the destitute woman, Murugammal, who was sleeping on the floor outside a house and killed her. Villagers said that though she had tried to escape the elephant had chased and caught her.
The incident happened around 12.10 am when a forester, three watchers, three guards and about 10 anti-poaching staff were involved in driving the elephant back into the forest. The woman was said to be mentally ill and she would be found staying in the front portion of any house.
The tusker had first thrust its trunk and pulled Velusamy who was sleeping on the cot in the verandah of his house. “Meanwhile, as Murugammal was screaming on sighting the elephant, it left Velusamy and caught hold of her,” said Ramasamy, a villager.
The villagers later staged a protest demanding protection from the rampaging elephants. “They demanded licensed guns to protect themselves from attacking elephants,” said a forest official.
When contacted, District Forest Officer (DFO) M Senthilkumar said, “It is an adult tusker that separated from its herd and is causing disturbances here. We are trying to drive it back to the forest.
The body was recovered and sent to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital for autopsy,” DFO said. The newly appointed District Collector, Archana Patnaik said that she has an action plan to prevent man-animal conflicts.
Next: Elephants on the rampage in foothills