'Bulldozer' destroys 17 houses in 3 months; Watch the attack
Palakkad: Bulldozer is too interested in demolishing houses. He wants at least one house to destroy once he leaves the forest. Thus within three months, the wild elephant who is called 'Bulldozer' by the locals managed to turn to dust 17 houses in Sholayur in Palakkad.
The tuskless male elephant (known as 'Mozha' in Malayalam) wreaks havoc in Sholayur, Vayaloor, Pettikkal, Kathalakkandi and Vechapathi regions in Attappadi. Every time, the people of the villages have a narrow escape from the elephant's attack. It also destroys the crops and causes threat to human life. People do not dare to spend the night in their houses any more.
Varangapadi Ponnamma and Nanjan are the latest victims of the 'Bulldozer'. It demolished the house and cow shed of the people on Wednesday. It had also destroyed houses of Chavadiyoor native Anandan and Baby two days ago. Fearing the jumbo, the family fled to their relative's house. When they returned next day, the house was completely gone.
Sholayur native Baby was alone at her house when the elephant came. Her husband was hospitalised due to kidney disease. As she spotted the jumbo devouring on jackfruit on their courtyard, Baby was all set to run outside through backdoor. By the time, she ran outside, the elephant destroyed the house.
On July 15, the elephant had ruined Kathalakkandi native Nanjan's house. It broke the windows and ate finger millet kept at the house. As the house was concrete, it could not destroy it completely. Earlier, Bulldozer had feasted on cattle feed stored in the milk society in the area.
When Kathalakkandi native Ammini's house was knocked down, she had shifted to a relative's house as directed by the forest guards. Even their new house under construction was demolished partially by the elephant.
Vayaloor native Chandravathi Thankappan narrated how they had a narrow escape from the elephant. "I was terrified to move while the jumbo was destroying our kitchen. I am 74 and unable to run. So I thought it was my last day. But it returned after ruining the house," he said.
Rangaswamy from Vechapathy also remembered a similar incident when the elephant followed him to his sister's house. The elephant pulled a saree through the broken door. It could not grip on his visually challenged sister who was lying on a mat close to it. The forest guards reached at the right time to rescue them.
There are a tuskless elephant and four tuskers in the region from Kathalakandi to Minerva. Two other tuskers appeared in Sholayur Kadambara area three days ago. The locals said that they are the two elephants known as Annan and Thambi which used to come in the place 1.5 years ago. The people are spending sleepless nights fearing the tuskless elephant.
The Bulldozer usually breaks the windows and searches for eatables using its trunk. If nothing is available, it destroys the entire house and steals rice, finger millet and cattle feed. It waits in the bushes near human habitats by dusk and attacks at midnight.
As there are other tuskers also, by the time the forest guards drive them away, the tuskless elephant wreaks havoc in the place. After a staff in Sholayur forest station was diagnosed with COVID-19, all staff have been quarantined. The Rapid Action Force from Mannarkkad are currently on duty to drive the elephants away. As they are not familiar with the places in Sholayur, they cannot reach the accurate place during the elephant attack.
The forest department is planning to fix a radio collar on Bulldozer. However, this has not been finalised. The elephant has to be tranquilized and a collar containing microchip and GPS system installed on its body. As it cannot get rid of this belt, its path can be traced using signals. So, this will be helpful to locate the elephant by the time it reaches human inhabited areas.