December 13, 2017
The hills surrounding Anuvavi Subramanya Swamy Temple, Anaikatti, Ponnoothu Amman Temple, Palamalai and Selvapuram are populated by over 50 wild elephants. It is a routine for these jumbos to stray into fields for fodder. At times, they enter into the villages and even raid ration shops.
For the last 3 days, 3 elephants with a calf have been coming down from Western Ghats to Poochiyur, Narasimmanaickenpalayam, Therkupalayam and Idigarai at night and grazing and also damaging plantain and maize crops.
On Tuesday night, the pachyderms walked along the Kousika river, crossed the Mettupalayam Road and went over to Balavinayagar Nagar and Idigarai. A team of forest personnel headed by Periyanaickenpalayam ranger Palaniraja and anti-poaching watchers tried to chase the jumbos back into the wild but in vain. On Wednesday morning, they moved over from Idigarai and went through Kuppichippipalayam, Periyanaickenpalayam, Jothipuram, Veerapandi, Gudalur Goundampalayam, Samichettipalayam, Kasturipalayam and Selvapuram.
At Samichettipalayam, one of the elephants attacked one Ramathal, an elderly woman, coming its way on the road. She did not notice the pachyderms and one of them lifted her with its trunk, tossed her around and walked away. Ramathal suffered grievous injuries on her face and hands. The 108 ambulance rushed her to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital but she died, failing to respond to treatment.
Meanwhile, the same herd attacked another aged woman Thulasiammal, wife of Shanmugam of Kasthuripalayam. She too was taken to CMCH where she is undergoing treatment. When the foresters were on a wild goose chase, the matriarch broke the gate of the Pioneer College at Jothipuram and also the compound wall and created a way for the herd to move on, forest officials said.
Finally after a long ordeal, the foresters and anti-poaching watchers managed to send the herd into the Selvapuram hill region under Vazhukkupaarai limits. Fearing their re-entry into the villages on the forest fringes, the forest personnel are on an intense patrolling.