Villagers on the forest fringes of Chittar in Ranni taluk have been complaining about frequent wild animal attacks on their houses and well-nursed crops on their courtyards. Following attacks by wild elephants, boars and leopards, a few families at Vayyattupuzha even abandoned their homes and shifted to relatives’ houses at Chittar and Seethathode.
A herd of wild elephants went on a rampage in the vegetable and plantain farms at Kulangara recently. The elephants attacked a few houses too before retreating to the forests.
“We too are thinking of moving out of this area as the forest authorities have not heeded our desperate pleas,” said Thomaskutty, a resident of Vayyattupuzha. Two watchdogs were killed by a leopard in the courtyard of a house at Kochukulangara recently.
The threat persists at Gurunathanmannu, Kochukoickal, Aanachantha, Kattachira, Kudappana, Kodumudy, Padayanippara, Karikayam, Anchumukku, Padayanippara, etc. in Chittar.
Leopard attacks on cattle and even humans are reportedly on the rise at Angamoozhy, Seethathode, and Chittar villages.
“If the situation continues, the villages will have to devise their own measures in self-defense,” says an agitated farmer.
Thomas P. Thomas, former Botany professor of St. Thomas College, Kozhencherry, and an environmentalist attributes the frequent straying of the wildlife into human habitation to the rapid increase in the wildlife population and the cultivation of crops along the forest borders. The villagers of Vayyattupuzha are planning to take out a march to the forest station at Chittar on Wednesday, demanding protection to their life and property.