Wild elephants on rampage again

Hyderabad, June 08: The jumbo menace has come back to haunt the villagers of Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. The wild elephants are on the rampage again, wreaking havoc in fruit orchards at Kottakota, Kusumuru and Titukpadu villages in Seethampet mandal for the past two days.

Sources said six pachyderms are roaming freely in Seethampet, Veeraghattam and Palakonda mandals, scaring the local tribals and farmers. A wild elephant attacked a couple from Kosingibhadra village of Gummalakshmipuram mandal when they came out to collect wood from the forest.

Eleven elephants from Lakeri wildlife sanctuary in Orissa crossed over to the Srikakulam-Vizianagaram border area in October 2007. The elephants trampled to death 11 persons, including a scribe, last year. Though `Operation Gaja’ was launched to force them back to the wild, the exercise was not successful as some of the pachyderms stayed put in the border area.

Sources said presence of the jumbos has made the lives of the tribals who depend on podu cultivation, mango picking and cashew seed collection in the forests miserable.