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Maharashtra: Elephants kills man in Gadchiroli

Updated on: 27 November,2023 07:11 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ranjeet Jadhav |

Experts say humans must learn to co-exist with the animals

Maharashtra: Elephants kills man in Gadchiroli

The herd first moved from Chattisgarh to Maharashtra in October 2021. File pic

A man was killed in Gadchiroli on Saturday, making it the third human death caused by an elephant this year. The team which has been tracking the herd of elephants that came from Chattisgarh to Maharashtra feels that the people of Gadchiroli have to understand that the pachyderms are permanent residents now, and they have to learn to coexist with them. 

A local, requesting anonymity, said that the elephants were in a paddy when villagers tried to chase them off around 8.15 pm. However, in doing so, a man from Maregaon village in the Porla range of Gadchiroli district was killed.

Wildlife lover Sagnik Sengupta—co-founder of NGO Stripes and the Green Earth Foundation which have been assisting the forest department in tracking the elephants—told mid-day that the people of Gadchiroli have to understand that the pachyderms are permanent residents now, and they “have to learn to coexist with them”.

“The forest department and the government have to consider up to 5 per cent of the total agricultural revenue as compensation towards crop damages. With a timely and justified amount towards the settlement of compensation, there will be less negativity among the people regarding the pachyderms. It is unfortunate that in the last three months there have been three human deaths due to elephant attacks, all of them caused by carelessness,” Sengupta said.

According to Sengupta, taking into account the movement pattern of this herd over the last two years, it is likely to enter the Tipagarh Forest area by the end of December and stay there for the next two months without causing any human conflict.

“This behaviour also proves that these pachyderms have a crop-raiding nature and till there is paddy in the field, they stay near human habitats. Once the paddy is harvested, they enter the Tipagarh area. Also, the heard don’t feed on the paddy… they just treat it as an appetiser or dessert as they have ample food and water inside the forest areas of the region,” Sengupta said, adding that while people and forest department officials have been trying to push them towards Chattisgarh, the herd won’t go back. “We shall discuss this with the deputy conservator of forests and if needed, will try to push the herd towards Malewada and direct them towards the Tipagarh area.”

The herd entered Gadchiroli district from Chhattisgarh in October 2021. While the elephants went back to Chhattisgarh in March 2022, they returned to Gadchiroli in August 2022 and have been in Maharashtra since. It is said that habitat loss due to large-scale coal and iron ore mining in Chhattisgarh might be the reason for their migration into Maharashtra. The availability of water bodies including small and big ponds, lakes and an abundance of food in the forests of Gadchiroli, Gondia and Navegaon areas of eastern Maharashtra seem to be another reason why the giants prefer this area.

No. of deaths caused by elephants in three months

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