Elephant tramples two to death
Man-animal conflicts ring safety alarm
Bhawanipatna: A wild elephant trampled two men to death in Kalahandi district in the latest instance of man-animal conflict in the state.
The incident took place on Monday afternoon in the far-flung forest-side village of Thutikela under the Narla forest range limits. Forest and police personnel came to know about the incident on Tuesday.
The victims, Metha Majhi, 60, and Pitmabar Majhi, 55, were returning home from a fair at a nearby village when the tusker is said to have appeared from nowhere and trampled them to death, said a forest official.
The animal also picked them up with its trunk and flung them to the ground. The duo suffered serious head injuries and bled to death on the spot, the official said.
The spot, where the incident took place, is close to the elephants' habitation corridor. The animals frequently stray into agricultural fields nearby to feed on crops, and this leads to man-elephant conflicts, said Narla forest range officer Antarjami Das.
Despite the frequent man-animal conflicts, this was the first time people had lost their lives in such an incident in the area since 2013, Das said.
Kalahandi north forest division, under which the Narla forest range falls, is home to 16 elephants, according to a census conducted earlier this year.
However, the Narla forest areas are witnessing intrusion of around 80 to 90 elephants from Baliguda and Boudh forest areas of Kandhamal district.
Reports of the animals ravaging paddy crops are coming in from various places in the region. Squads consisting of skilled personnel have been formed to chase the pachyderms back to their original habitat.
A forest official said the next kin of the deceased would receive Rs 3 lakh as compensation following government rule.
Odisha is home to 1,976 elephants, according to the latest headcount.
Till August this year, 14 people had lost their lives in elephant attacks. Fifty-eight people had died in similar attacks last year.