Angul: As many as 162 elephants and 138 human lost their lives to man-elephant conflict in Angul circle from 2014 to 2019, the forest department data suggests.
These disturbing figures have been a cause of headache for the government, animal lovers and residents of the places coming under Angul forest circle.
According to 2017 elephant census, there were 665 elephants in Angul forest circle, which comprises Angul, Athmallik, Athagarh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Satkosia and Mahanadi forest divisions. The division wise break-up of elephant number was as follows: 169 jumbos in Dhenkanal forest division, 147 in Satkosia division, 115 in Athagarh division, 93 in Mahanadi division, 59 in Athmallik division, 45 in Angul division and 37 jumbos in Cuttack forest division.
Angul forest circle, however, is no longer a safe place for pachyderms as it is for other wild animals. The natural habitats of these animals are constantly under threat for human ingression into their territory for economic activities.
At times they get electrocuted, sometimes come under the wheels of trains, trucks and buses. Sometimes the abandoned open wells in farmlands lead to their death and at times they fall prey to poachers for their tusks.
“Human ingression is the primary reason why elephant corridors are either squeezed or cut off. Since jungles are being destroyed continuously, theses wild animals are also not getting enough food. It forces them to stray into human habitations,” said an official of forest department.
The forage of elephants into human habitations barely goes unchallenged. These confrontations often prove fatal for both the elephants and human beings.
According to official data, 13 elephants died in Angul forest division in last five years and during the same period man-elephant conflict claimed 32 lives. Similarly, during the same period, six elephants and four people died in Athmallik forest division, 43 elephants and 11 people died in Athagarh forest division, nine elephants and two people died in Cuttack forest division, 69 elephants and 86 people died in Dhenkanal forest division, 19 elephants and three people died in Satkosia forest division and only three elephants, and no human beings, died in Mahanadi forest division during the same period.
Without well-planned corrective action, the trend is unlikely to reverse, several environmentalists suggested.