Hungry pachyderms posing threat to residents in Garo Hills (State of Meghalaya, India) The Shillong Times January 7, 2021
TURA: The fast-depleting forest cover and fields, empty of any standing crops, is pushing hungry and angry wild herds of elephants closer to human dwellings with each passing winter.
Villagers residing in areas of elephant-passage zones, particularly the border belt between south West and South Garo Hills districts, have been cautioned to be alert and avoid movement particularly during the night.
Last week, on the eve of New Year night, a 33-year-old man, Nana Marak of Pokirkona village in Gasuapara area of South Garo Hills, was trampled to death by a wild herd when he went out in the night towards the paddy fields. His dismembered body was found in the open field by villagers the next morning.
The danger is felt mostly in the plain-belt region of the border all along Sibbari and Gasuapara in South Garo Hills and Purakhasia-Gopinathkilla-Mahendraganj in South West Garo Hills.
Movement of elephants crossing to and fro the international border in search of food is a regular feature during the cold winter months. It is also the time when most attacks on humans occur, compelling forest officials to raise the alert level to its highest.
The fast expansion of human dwelling foraying into areas long used by the wild animals for movement is only making the situation more complex leading to animal-human conflict in which casualties are bound to take place.