Wildlife & Biodiversity

Elephant kills five in Odisha

The victims were asleep on their verandahs when the tusker trampled them

By Ashis Senapati
Published: Friday 19 April 2019

Human-elephant conflict in villages near the forests has killed five persons, including a woman and two minor girls, in Odisha's Angul district on April 18.

Munda Singh (40), his 25-year-old sister and two minor daughters were trampled to death by a  tusker in Sandha village within Talcher municipality. The elephant also killed 70-year-old Bhamarabar Samal of Santhapada village. The victims were sleeping on the verandas along with their houses.

The same tusker killed another man in Talcher on March 2.

"We found the tusker in the forest near Talcher on April 19 and informed the district forest officials to tranquilise the animal. The forest department will provide Rs 4 lakh in compensation to the families of those killed after due inquiry," Trilochana Behera, Talcher forest range officer, said.

Shortage of fodder in the forests is the main reason for elephants venturing into villages, said Wildlife Society of Odisha Secretary Biswajit Mohanty. He also blamed the lack of proper patrolling by forest guards for such deaths.

Many  elephants recently destroyed ready paddy crops, said Ashok Jena, a farmer of Sandha. "We face a serious threat from animals; elephants destroy paddy, vegetables and other crops in search of food. But forest officials doing nothing to prevent them," he added.

"The elephants have become a menace. They kill our people, hurt us, damage our crops. The government does hardly anything," Padmanava Das, a local, said.

Though officials said an anti-depredation force was deployed in areas prone to elephant attacks, villagers denied seeing the force chase wild elephants back into the forest. 

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