Jackfruits Dumped on Roadsides in Kodagu to Feed Wild Elephants (State of
The Star of Mysore
June 5, 2021
KUSHALNAGAR: Jackfruit is elephants’ favourite fruit and they can smell the
ripe ones from miles away. Elephants are dead clever and determined. If the
fruit is too high for them to reach they’ll shake the tree with their trunk
until the fruit falls to the ground. And if there is an electric fence,
they will break it down with a dry tree trunk and enter any plantation.
It is jackfruit season in Kodagu now and wild elephants raiding coffee
estates in search of jackfruits is commonplace. They camp for days inside
estates putting the lives of estate owners and also labourers in jeopardy
as no one can venture into the estates till the herd or even a lone tusker
leaves the property.
Wary of elephant raids, farmers and coffee growers have adopted newer ways
and means to save their lives and property. They are plucking jackfruits
from the trees and dumping them on the elephant path.
In fact, the Forest Department has to intervene in such elephant raids. But
with no help forthcoming from the Department officers, who don’t even pay
compensation to the loss of coffee plants, estate owners have taken this
initiative and it has proved a success too. The elephants entering estates
has minimised, if not totally prevented.
Wild elephant menace is rampant in Aiguru, Kandanakolli, Kodlipet,
Shirangala Nakoor, Abyathmangala, Chettalli and Seventh Hoskote in the
North of the district and Srimangala, Ammathi, Thithimathi, Ponnampet,
Kutta and Balele in Virajpet and Ponnampet taluks.
Forests in these areas mostly comprise teak wood which is why elephants are
falling short of food and in jackfruit season, they raid the estates.
Repeated requests of the villagers to the Forest Department to chase
elephants back to the forest have fallen on deaf ears.
Path Identified and Dumped
Now in this season, jackfruits are found piled up on the roadsides and
growers hope the elephants hog these jackfruits instead of entering into
their plantations. But the planters cannot cut the jackfruit trees inside
their own estates as they do not have tree rights and have to seek
permission from the Department — a tedious job, especially during COVID
“We identify the path usually taken by elephants roaming around and dump
tractor-loads of jackfruits on the way and also near lakes that are
frequented by elephants. It is a big loss if a herd of 20 to 25 elephants
enter an estate. We are not worried about them eating jackfruits but in the
process, they destroy many coffee plants,” says Arun Kumar, an estate owner
On an average, over 1,000 kgs of jackfruits are dumped on the roadsides in
the vicinity of every major estate. “We spend extra money and pay the
labourers who make time to cut jackfruits amidst the tree-topping work,” he
Villagers Oppose Move
However, the trend has been opposed by some villagers in
Abyathmangala-Kushalnagar Range who fear for their safety. They claimed
that some of the estate owners’ move is endangering their lives. Anil a,
villager said that despite many pleas, the estate owners dump jackfruits by
the side of the road and they can’t even go on the road fearing wild
However, Ajith Kumar, an estate owner on the Siddapura Road said that he
had asked his estate workers to dump the fruits by the side of a lake that
is frequented by elephant herds. “By mistake they have dumped on a roadside
near the village and next time we will dump fruits on elephant path. Last
year, we faced severe losses as many coffee tree branches were broken as
herds entered my estate. This is the only visible solution,” he said.