Human activities in Asia have reduced elephant habitat by nearly two-thirds since 1700
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Tura: In yet another case of human-animal conflict from Garo Hills, a 46 year old woman, Chetmilla Marak lost her life after she and another two of her friends were chased by a lone elephant in the morning of March 27.

The area in question is part of the famed elephant corridor and has seen numerous cases of elephants causing havoc in the region.

The incident on March 27 took place near a village called Nabangdagre near Kherapara under West Garo Hills.  

According to the wildlife department sources, the three, Etmila Marak (44), Chetmila Marak and Merita Sangma had gone for jhum cultivation when they were chased by the elephant. While Merita escaped uninjured by running in the opposite direction to the elephant, the other two were not so lucky as the elephant gave chase.

Both Etmila and Chetmila received serious injuries on their person by the elephant before they were able to escape. Due to the serious nature of the injury, both women were immediately referred to Tura. However, Chetmila died from her injuries even before reaching the hospital. Etmila is also said to be serious and is still under treatment at Tura Civil Hospital.

Upon being informed of the incident, a wildlife team provided vigil in the village but by then the elephant had left the place

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Interestingly the site where the incident took place was earlier densely forested but had recently been slashed and burnt for jhumming. Habitat loss of the elephants due to jhumming activities across Garo Hills has led to the animals coming near human shelters in search of food.

“As long as their habitat loss continues, elephants will continue coming in search of food in human shelters. Huge tracts of forests are destroyed every year due to jhumming activities and this has led to more frequent encounters with the pachyderms,” said a highly placed wildlife source from Garo Hills.

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