The field activity is considered a big lure to the wild elephants. (Repreentational Image/ DC Image)
Tirupati: Three lone elephants, which were on the prowl close to the villages at Vengalarajukandriga and Nagari mandals in Chittoor district three days ago, were now giving tense moments to farmers at villages in Renigunta and Yerpedu mandals, close to Tirupati.
The elephants, which have reportedly left the Koundinya wildlife sanctuary at Palamaner- Kuppam tri-state border a week ago, have been resorting to crop raids in about a dozen villages in these four mandals, at a time when mango orchards in the region are set for fruiting.
The field activity is considered a big lure to the wild elephants.
The three elephants from the Koundinya sanctuary, located on the western side of the district, travelled more than 150km to reach the east side of the district. After reaching Vengalarajukandriga and Nagari mandals, they started invading crops in the adjoining fields for a week, and reportedly pulled down the trees in mango orchards.
Through Nagari, the herd slowly moved into Renigunta mandal, reaching as far as Vikruthamala, Gudimallam, Kukkalagunta and other areas of Yerpedu mandal on Tuesday and were now moving close to the borders of Srikalahasti mandal, 175km from the sanctuary belt.
"When we found the presence of elephants in forest areas abutting Karvetinagaram, Panabakam and Surendrapakam on the eastern part of the district, it was first thought they were from the Seshachalam forests. However, after tracking their paths, it emerged that the herd was from the Koundinya sanctuary of the western belt," a senior forest official told this newspaper.
A farmer of Vikruthamala in Yerpedu mandal said the elephants had destroyed his mango orchard, causing a loss in lakhs of rupees. Another farmer from Munagalapalem also came out with woes of losing her paddy crop. However, the forest officials assured her that the farmers, who had been complaining of the crop losses due to elephants, will be given compensation.
"We are also taking precautionary measures to prevent the herd from moving into the human habitations and trying to reunite them with the herd they have separated. We have deployed watchers and trackers, and as of now, they have been diverted into Chelluru reserve forest area," he said.