Bhubaneswar: Human elephant conflict in Angul district of Odisha is always in discussion. In some of the incidents elephants have been killed while in some other incidents Jumbos have trampled humans.
As per reports, in the last 5 years 59 people have been killed in elephant attack in this district. On the other hand as many as 55 elephants have been killed in man-animal conflict.
Is there any end to this conflict? Why Forest Department is not able to address this issue despite availability of a number of government schemes. Is the fund that has been allotted towards safety of elephant and men is not being properly utilized. These are the questions arising in the mind of the people. A report.
A number of elephant squads are there under the Gajabandhu Yojana. Even solar fencing arrangement has been made in the villages which are close to the sanctuaries. Besides, the Forest department has put up bee hives along elephant passages to prevent Jumbos from entering into human habitat.
The wildlife mafias are getting stronger. They are becoming more active day by day. And this has contributed to deforestation. Apart from that, digging of canals, electrocution, construction of roads, houses has also contributed to the issue. Besides, grabbing of forest lands and industrialisation are also cultivating towards deforestation. And hence day by day the forest is shrinking. However, in the same ratio forest is not being created. Also construction of roads, illegal mining and extraction of huge amount of minerals has contributed towards deforestation.
In nutshell, for want of food and drinking water elephants are venturing to the human habitats in search of food and water. Elephant-human conflict is a result of habitat loss. When elephants and humans interact, there is conflict from crop raiding, injuries and deaths to humans caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans for reasons other than ivory and habitat degradation.
And once they are entering the village area they destro crops as well as face off with humans as a result humans get killed. And this way the man-elephant conflict is going on since years.
To check the elephants from entering into the human habitats many schemes have been taken up. The forestation, digging of ponds and trenches in the forest lands, harvesting fruit yieliding trees in the forest area that are consumed by elephants have been taken up. As per reports, crores of money is being spent on it. However, still the problem is yet to be resolved.
To check man-elephant conflict modern techniques as well as stricter law is required. There is need of change in the mind set. Deforestation is a major cause of man elephant conflict. It is due to deforestation that elephants are venturing to human habitats. However, wild life mafias are taking the benefit out of this.
As per reports, in the year 2018-19 three humans and 3 elephants have been killed in Angul Forest Division due to man-elephant conflict. Similarly, in 2019-20 as many as 16 elephants were killed and also 16 humans were killed due to elephant attack.
Similarly, in 2020-21 as many as 13 elephants were killed and human loss was also 13. In 2021-22 nine elephants were killed while ten men were killed in elephant attack. In the year 2022-23 sixteen people were trampled by elephants and 14 elephants were killed.
The DFO has said that events are being organised in villages to sensitize people about how to keep them safe from elephant attack. However, the major problem is yet to be resolved.
Reports: Manas Mishra, Angul, Kalinga TV