Bhubaeswar: A 45-year-old man was gored to death by a wild elephant while another man was injured in a separate incident in Dhenkanal district with man-jumbo confrontation reaching a flashpoint in the region.
The district is fast emerging as the worst elephant depredation zone in Odisha with the wild animals on killing spree trampling nine persons to death since last.
A herd of elephants have gone berserk in at least three villages in Hindol block since early morning today.
A wild elephant trampled one Prasanna Behera to death in Tentulisingha village while another man Suresh Chandra Pala of Kalingapal village was seriously wounded by elephant attack. In neighbouring Bankitia village, elephants are on rampage damaging crops, said officials.
The spots where the man-elephant confrontation took place is close to elephants’ habitation corridor. The animals stray into the agriculture field nearby to devour the crop field, which leads to frequent outbreak of man-elephant conflict, said officials.
Odisha is home to 1976 elephants with 1092 of them being female species as the latest headcount of these animals.
As many as 84 human deaths have been recorded between April 2017 and March 09, 2018, which is one of worst years from point of view of human-elephant conflicts. During the same period, 71 jumbos have died. The current year which ended on March 31 has registered 117 elephant-human confrontations-highest in past four years.
The number of human elephant encounters has gone up from 107 in 2014-15 to 120 in 2017-18.
Man-made obstructions like the Rengali irrigation canal network and the National Highways and the frequent movement of trucks in and out of industries and quarries are hindrances to hassle-free movement of the elephants. As a result, it is leading to frequent outbreak of man-jumbo conflict in Dhenkanal district.
Dhekanal district has accounted for 53 elephants’ death in the past four years while 63 persons have been killed by jumbos. The signs are ominous in Dhenkanal district eve as governmental measures to curb the trend are left mc to be desired.
Shortage of fodder in the natural forests was the main cause for elephants venturing into human habitations. The shortage happens primarily due to large scale felling of trees for timber, forest fires, rampant harvesting of fruits in summer, and cutting off fodder creepers like Siali.