Shillong, Jan. 11: A wild elephant trampled to death a guard of the wildlife department, Marshal Kharsynteng, in Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi district last evening.
An official in Nongpoh, the district headquarters of Ri Bhoi, said Kharsynteng was trampled to death by an elephant inside Nongkhyllem wildlife sanctuary. The man was on his way to the forest outpost when the elephant attacked him.
Nongkhyllem wildlife sanctuary is near Lailad village in Ri Bhoi district, around 80km from here.
The sanctuary can be approached from Umling on the Guwahati-Shillong highway (NH 40) and then 17km along Umling-Patharkhmah Road up to Lailad village.
Because of the depletion in the natural cover and loss of habitat, there had been frequent cases of man-animal conflict and elephants have also trampled upon paddy fields leading to the destruction of foodgrain.
According to the website of the state forest and environment department, the major cause of depredation in Meghalaya is attributed to elephants.
“The high elephant concentration in the state, coupled with their long range movement through fragmented forests, which cuts across human population and agriculture fields, leads to frequent cases of man-animal conflict. The regular practice of shifting cultivation takes a heavy toll on bio-diversity conservation, which raises the conflict level as well. There is no proper land use policy in the state, hence people do not abandon their homestead or agriculture field, which invites recurrent depredation problems,” the website further added.
Last year, a female elephant of Garo hills elephant reserve was electrocuted at Jadi, 30km away from Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills.
Last year, the state government was compiling data on the number of elephants found in the reserves.
The census was conducted in West Khasi Hills, parts of Ri Bhoi district and in all the three districts of the Garo hills region.
Around three years ago, there were 186 elephants all over the state.