A herd of angry elephants on Tuesday wreaked havoc in Mogilivaripalli village in Bangarupalem mandal of Chittoor district, by destroying crops and terrorising the villagers, before the forest officials drove them into the forest using crackers. The reason for this behaviour of the animals was the death of a male elephant. A 25-year-old elephant which was in musth, had left the herd and wandered off into the village on Sunday, and was subsequently killed by a low-hanging wire.
Musth is a condition of heightened aggression occurring in the male species of certain animals, especially elephants, and is associated with a surge in testosterone level.
The incident took place at around 11.30 pm.
Forest officials who were informed about the animal’s death, after performing autopsy, buried it in the woods near the village the next day.
However, on Tuesday, a herd of elephants smelling the carcass, created mayhem in the village and destroyed the paddy crops. The assessment of the damage is yet to be done. However, what is surprising is that the herd which terrorised the village, and the dead animal, were from different herds.
Speaking to TNM, Chittoor District Forest Officer (DFO) Sunil Kumar Reddy said, “We were monitoring these elephants. It is a 17-member herd. But the male in musth wandered off into the village and got electrocuted.”
The DFO described the incident of another herd coming and paying homage as a “common thing”. “It is quite common for elephants to respect and weep over the death of a fellow animal. They must have got the scent of the carcass.” The DFO added that elephants don’t differentiate between herds.
Cautioning about the possibility of the elephants coming to the village again, he said, “They remember things for years, and they might come again to the village to pay homage.”