53-year-old man killed by wild elephant in Kerala's Pathanamthitta; 5th fatality in three months | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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53-year-old man killed by wild elephant in Kerala's Pathanamthitta; 5th fatality in three months

PTI |
Apr 01, 2024 02:53 PM IST

Kerala reels from a spate of fatal encounters with wild elephants, with the current incident marking the fifth life lost in three months.

A 53-year-old man was attacked and killed by a wild elephant when he tried to chase away the animal that strayed into the surroundings of his house on the forest fringes in Pathanamthitta's Thulappally in the early hours of Monday, police said.

The animal was seen trying to uproot a coconut tree in the surrounding area, moving towards the man quickly after trumpeting multiple times, according to his wife. (AP File Photo)
The animal was seen trying to uproot a coconut tree in the surrounding area, moving towards the man quickly after trumpeting multiple times, according to his wife. (AP File Photo)

This is the fifth death caused by wild elephants in Kerala in the past three months.

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Biju, a local auto driver, came out of his house along with his wife, hearing the trumpets of an elephant outside. The animal grabbed him using its trunk and threw him to the ground twice, Biju's wife Daisy, who witnessed the terrible incident, said later.

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The same elephant had strayed into the area and wreaked havoc here the other day, she said.

The animal was seen trying to uproot a coconut tree in the surrounding area and it moved towards him fast after trumpeting multiple times, she said.

The woman said she stepped back and moved to the house premises seeing the charged jumbo.

"We went out together, hearing the sounds of the elephant near our home in the early hours. The first time, we came back home together. But he went to the road near the house again as the elephant was heard trumpeting again," Daisy told reporters here.

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Recalling the tragic events, the teary-eyed woman said the animal rushed towards Biju suddenly and grabbed him by its trunk, throwing him to the ground twice.

It later ran away into the forest, she said.

"As there was no response, I went to the spot and saw him lying motionless on the floor," Daisy added. A police team rushed to the spot after being informed, and shifted Biju's body to Kottayam Medical College.

Local residents later staged a sit-in protest in the area, demanding a permanent solution to address the issue of human-animal conflict.

Later in the day, Health Minister Veena George visited Biju's house and consoled his family members. She assured them that the government would provide adequate compensation to the family as early as possible.

Kerala has witnessed a series of deaths of people due to the attack of wild elephants in recent months. A tribal woman was trampled to death by a wild elephant deep inside a forest area bordering Wayanad and Malappuram districts on March 28. A forest watcher, 50-year-old Paul, was trampled to death by a wild elephant while he was on his way to work at Kuruva in Wayanad district on February 16.

A week before that, another Wayanad resident Aji (42), was trampled to death by a radio-collared elephant in Mananthavady in the district, triggering massive protests.

In January, an estate watcher, Lakshmanan (65) was killed by a wild tusker at Tholpetty, also in the same district.

In central Kerala's Idukki district, which is also heavily forested and mountainous but about 330 km away from the northern Kerala district of Wayanad, a woman identified as Indira Ramakrishnan was killed in an elephant attack in the first week of March.

In another incident of human-wildlife conflict, Prajeesh (36) was mauled by a tiger in December last year near a forest area in Vakeri in Wayanad.

The Kerala government has been seeking to amend the Wildlife (Protection) Act, citing challenges faced by the state in dealing with instances of wild animals encroaching into human settlements.

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