Fear grips Kodagu: Elephants attack planters
Fear grips Kodagu as coffee planters are increasing becoming the target of wild elephants on the rampage.
At least three persons, including two coffee planters, were attacked in the past one week, with one of the planters being targeted very close to the house, leading to his violent death.
Kallichanda N. Thammaiah (Vasu), aged 72, a resident of Nittoor village in Balele, was taking an early morning walk on his estate when he was taken by surprise by the charging elephant. As he tried to run away, the elephant managed to pin him down and flung him 20 feet away. He died on the way to hospital. Thammaiah is survived by wife Gangamma and son Deepak.
In another incident, planter Chendrimada Raji Subbaiah was waylaid by a wild elephant near his house in Kutta while he was driving in his car. Subbaiah suffered bruises on his face as the elephant had damaged the windshield of the car.
Though Subbaiah managed to flee, the angry elephant damaged his car and pushed the vehicle for about 50 feet.
In another incident reported from Sunticoppa, Lakshmi, aged 46, who was being taken to hospital for chest pain by her husband in an autorickshaw, was attacked by two wild elephants on the main road near Sunticoppa.
While her husband and the autorickshaw driver ran to safety, Lakshmi was not able to run because of her ill health. One of the elephants, lifted her from its trunk and threw her in the air. Another elephant attacked the autorikshaw. Lakshmi was shifted to Madikeri hospital in a critical condition.
EDITORS VIEW: The authorities have failed to curb the menace posed by the wild elephants in Kodagu. A rise in the population of elephants, denudation of forests and encroachment of the elephant corridor, has worsened the situation.
The situation calls for out of the box solution. The authorities should consider popularising an early warning system developed by Shimanta Kumar Goswami, a nature lover from Assam.
The innovative and cost-effective system not only alerts farmers of straying jumbos, but also drives them back into the forest. The early warning system uses strong, two plus nylon ropes, a few poles and an alarm bell. The rope is tied to the poles, at a height of about 6 feet and the poles are fixed to the ground at a gap of 200 meters. This network connects to an electric bell on a watch tower. As the elephant comes in contact with the nylon rope, the hair on its head gets caught between the plies of the rope and the resultant tension pulls the hair out. Instinctively, the elephant turns away and simultaneously, the alarm bells too are triggered warning the villagers.