Kolhan: Tuskers menace on the rise, 24 trampled to death in 2019

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Jamshedpur. Jan. 7: About 24 deaths have taken place across Kolhan comprising twin districts of Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan district in 2019 due to elephant trampling.

According to sources, of the 20 deaths 17 were caused by the lone tuskers, prompting the forest department to develop new methods to prevent for saving oneself from such attack.

Kolhan has six forest divisions sharing border with the Odisha on the one side and Bengal in the other side and movement of wild elephants is common activity.

Regional chief conservator of forest, Vishwanath Shah admitted that the movement of elephants from one forest division to another and from Jharkhand to neighbouring Odisha, Bengal and Chhatishgar has increased during the past one year.

“We are aware about the situation. The movement of elephants has increased as habitat of the elephants has also increased due to various development projects, including road and dam construction, resulting in elephants trampling deaths here in Kolhan,” said Shah.

The RCCF, when queried, said about 20 elephants–trampling deaths have taken place in 2019 and admitted that most of the deaths took place by lone elephants.

Another official said that the trampling deaths are caused by lone elephants only because they feel threatened and attack anyone they find on their way,” explained Shah.

Meanwhile, villagers have said that they feared for their lives and the safety of their crops and had even put together groups of youths who were taking turns at night to keep vigil. They said that forest department must take immediate steps to provide safety to the villagers.

 “We are desperate to find a permanent solution to the decades-old man-elephant conflict we will work hard to help keep the wild jumbos from civilian forested areas,” a forest department official.

A farmer Naren Mahto of Narga said elephants damaged standing crops and also wiped out potatoes from his farm. A forest staff also said the elephants were returning from Bengal and happened to cross Gerua and Narga. “We have asked villagers to remain alert. The elephants must be are stationed somewhere near Gerua,” he added.

The pachyderms migrated to Bengal in August-September last year. Some, including terror tusker Don, are back home while others are on their way to the sanctuary. Abundance of water and fodder had held up jumbos in forest of neighbouring Bengal.  Jumbos generally return home to the reserve by the end of January or at the most February.

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