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Five people killed by elephants in 48 hours in Jharkhand

The rising man-elephant conflict has claimed the lives of about 59 people every year in the last one decade and 13 tuskers have been killed this year in Jharkhand.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2017 20:06 IST
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
wild elephant,man-elephant conflict,Jharkhand
File photo of a captured wild elephant in August that had killed 10 villagers in the past three months in Sahebganj, Jharkhand. (HT)

Five people have been killed in the last 48 hours by elephants and two tuskers have died in one week in Jharkhand, officials said on Thursday, pointing to the rising conflict between humans and animals in the state.

Forest department officials said 60-year-old Sambhu Lohra and 67-year-old Maheshwar Mahato were trampled to death by a wild pachyderm in Bundu, around 40 km from state capital Ranchi, on Wednesday.

The rogue elephant, they said, was separated from its herd a week ago and has been attacking villagers since then.

Bundu forest ranger Ranvir Singh said Lohra was returning to his Shyam Nagar village from weekly market, called haat in the local dialect, on his bicycle when the elephant attacked him.

“The tusker, who left the Tetla forest around 4pm, accosted Sambhu at Joikya Garha area. The old man could not escape and the elephant crushed him to death,” Singh said.

He said the elephant, on his way to West Bengal, reached Birdih area after a couple of hours where it came across Mahato, who was returning to his farm. He tried to escape but the elephant chased and killed him.

The forest officials said that the families of the deceased would be given a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each. “For immediate relief, a cheque of Rs 50,000 was handed over to the family,” Singh said.

Three deaths were reported on Tuesday in Hazaribagh and Gumla.

In Hazaribagh’s Churchu block a herd killed 60-year-old Maha Hansda as he was minding his cattle in a nearby jungle. And two shepherds from Bihar were trampled to death in a tuskers attack in Jharkhand’s Gumla district.

According to the forest department’s estimates, more than 300 people are killed across the country every year by elephants.

Hundreds of elephants have died at the same from poaching, road and train accidents, electrocution and poisoning amid unplanned development and encroachments leading to loss of forests and their habitat.

Elephants are long range animals that require large habitats but newer human habitations have cut off elephant corridors, trapping the giant mammals in smaller areas and forcing them to raid towns and villages.

Two tuskers have died in less than a week and 13 so far this year in the eastern state.

In the forested state of Jharkhand, the rising man-elephant conflict has claimed the lives of 59 people every year in last one decade. The highest casualty was recorded in 2011 when 69 people were killed by tuskers.

State wildlife board member DS Srivastava said that the forest department has failed to check man-elephant conflicts in the state.

“Scarcity of selected food for elephants like bamboo, kajhi and khair in Jharkhand forests have led jumbos to intrude villages for food causing man-elephant conflict and crop damage,” he said.

India is the world’s stronghold for the Asian elephant and boasts over 70% of the global population of the species. The environment ministry has pegged India’s wild elephant population at 27,312 across 23 states after a population count between March and May this year.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 20:06 IST