Sullia: Herds of wild elephants had so far limited their area of movement and activity to forests on the boundary between DK and Kerala like Mandekolu village.
But this growing education agog was agog with curiosity and sensation as the news spread that six of them – a male, four females and a cub – had strayed in the wrong direction and crossed the Payaswini river on Friday night.
Narayana and Mahalinga Naik of the 11th Bhasmadka ward of town panchayat were surprised and shocked to find the herd having camped in their flat strip of land with heavy greenery.
Forest personnel from Sullia, Panja and Subrahmanya ranges rushed to the spot. Until late reports came in on Saturday night, the operation to drive them back to the forest has been continuing.
The herd is thought to have crossed river Payaswini through Nellibangaradka towards the edges of the town jurisdiction. Bhasmadka is a growing residential extension of the town. The mighty pachyderms marched through the farms of Mahalinga Naik, Hemaprakash, Vasu Naik, Gopal Nair and others, causing heavy damage. Residents said that the same herd had been spotted in Narkodu of Aletty village.
Different modes of operation were taken up to drive them away, like bursting of crackers, beating of drums, burning chilli in flame to create a pungent atmosphere and the like. But nothing seemed to have worked.
Curious crowds started pouring in, a large number of them eager to capture the shots on mobiles and cameras. When the situation became unmanageable, the police restricted human movement within a certain radius of the affected spot.
Yet, those who had managed to get into spot, including the mediapersons and camerapersons, had to beat a retreat when the jumbos reacted with deafening trumpets.
Forest officials cautioned the public to take care and not to go closer, since when the wild elephants have a cub in company, they tend to be more possessive and protective and hence aggressive.
When the elephants trumpeted, people around began running away in different directions. Many cameras and mobiles were dropped. The chilli powder aimed at the elephants flew back at the crowds because of powerful monsoon winds.
The operation continued in spite of heavy rains on Saturday afternoon. The police and forest teams have been keeping a vigil in the area to prevent any damage to humans and property.
Further details are awaited on Sunday.
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