Villagers panic in AP, as herd of jumbos stray on NH

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Tirupati: A herd of around 22 elephants, which were on the move close to villages in the bordering mandals of Chittoor district earlier, have entered Gudiyattam road close to Mosalimadugu village in Palamaner rural on Tuesday morning, triggering panic among the public and forest officials.

According to sources, the wild elephants gave tense moments to commuters on the state highway in the morning by staying put on the road. Forest officials reached the area and made attempts to drive away the elephants back into the forest by bursting crackers. It took nearly 2-3 hours to drive them away.

The forest department has alerted the nearby villages, saying the wild jumbos, which had entered the Andhra forests from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka recently, may enter villages in the bordering mandals and raid crops. Elephant trackers have been deployed and the forest department has increased surveillance, officials said.

Officials tracking the movement of the herd said the wild jumbos that had recently migrated to the Koundinya wildlife sanctuary have entered the bordering villages in Palamaner rural by crossing the solar fences, erected to prevent jumbos trespassing into human habitations.

A fortnight ago, a herd of 15 elephants raided crops in Baireddipalle of Palamaner constituency. The herd also created a flutter by raiding crops and plantations in Gollapalle and its neighbouring hamlets in Ramakuppam mandal two weeks ago.

Villagers in bordering mandals in Chittoor district were living in constant fear as they frequently witnessed wild pachyderms crossing the roads, roaming in human habitations and destroying crops.

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