Border residents spend sleepless nights over elephant menace
Representational image Credit: Representational image

Guwahati: In yet another incident of man-elephant conflict, a herd of wild elephants, which strayed out of the nearby jungles along the Assam-Meghalaya border in Assam’s Goalpara district, trampled to death three persons, including a mother-son duo, at night on Sunday.

A herd of six to seven wild elephants, straying out of the jungles, initially destroyed several houses in the area, creating a panic among the people at the Kurung village in the Lakhipur area of the district, bordering Meghalaya. When the pachyderms were on a rampage, a woman identified as Sarathi Lama started running frantically with her four-year-old son Suchit Bishwakarma on her lap but came under the attack of the jumbos and was trampled to death.

On the other hand, another man, identified as Bhim Bahadur Ray, also got killed by the herd of elephants that went berserk. Besides, several livestock were also crushed to death in the melee.

“The herd of 6-7 elephants came late at night and went on a rampage in the village destroying houses and whatever came in their way. Three of our villagers, including a mother and her minor son, also got killed by the elephants. Several domestic animals were also killed. This phenomenon is not new in our district. Wild elephants often stray into the villages in search of food from the nearby Meghalaya hills and go on a rampage. We have been urging the Assam forest department to take some concrete steps to deal with this serious problem but the ordeal continues,” said a villager at Kurung.

Human-elephant conflict has assumed alarming proportions in the state in 2022, raising concerns among conservationists. Assam, which has the country’s second highest elephant population, is facing a rising trend in human-elephant conflict due to the fast depletion of the state’s forest cover, which has resulted in the destruction of elephant habitats. The pachyderms often stray into the human settlement in search of food and water.

Over the last ten years, a total 812 people and 900 elephants have been killed as competition for land intensified in the state. The human casualties mostly occur during the dry season, when the animals move out of their habitats in search of food and water.

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