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Wild elephants kill 53-year-old man, thatched houses damaged at Ichagarh

Jamshedpur, Nov. 15 : A herd of 13 elephants strayed into Bhawandi village in Ichagarh in Seraikela-Kharsawankilling a 53-year-old man, KhagendraNathMahto in the morning, while the victim was going to relieve himself in a nearby field.
According to information four herds of wild elephants have anchored at different jungles in adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan district since the past fortnight, forcing people to spend sleepless nights.
The number of elephants in each herd varies from nine to 26 and they have not only damaged standing crops by straying into the paddy-field and damaged thatched houses, but also trampled a 53-year-old man to death during their stay in the district.
Divisional forest officer (DFO), Seraikela, A Ekka said that they are investing the incident. As per their information over 40 elephants have entered into various jungles in the Seraikela forest division, something which had never happened in the past.
” This is a routine migration season for the elephants and they tend to move from their natural habitats like Dalm, Saranda and Chaibasa jungles in Kolhan region and also from Keonjhar and Mednapore in neighbouring Odisha and Bengal every year, but migration of so many elephants in four herds seems to be for the first time. We are just trying to find out the reason behind the changes in the behaviour of the elephants,” said Ekka.
The DFO said as the herds are not very far from the human habitats, their presence for such a long period has also become a matter of concern as they tend to stray into the paddy-fields and destroy them.
Meanwhile a villager said: “We are forced to spend sleepless nights. Our lives are at risk due to rampaging elephants. Elephants regularly venture into villages, destroy houses, damage standing crops and even trample people to death. We are forced to work like a ‘night guard’ to save our lives and crops”. He said that rampaging elephants are a cause of concern. Some measures need to be adopted and there is need to do more to protect the people.
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.

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