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Man and elephant conflict in Deomali area

Posted on Feb 13, 10:06AM | UNI

Itanagar, Feb 12 : Elephants are becoming more and more daring and freely entering the human settlement areas, especially in Deomali area in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Every evening, especially in winter, herds of pachyderm invade the outskirts of sleepy Deomali township and eat up and destroy the paddy, bananas, tapioca and other valuable crops, district official sources informed today.

The residents keep vigil for whole night sporadically bursting crackers and sometimes firing guns to scare away the giant creatures. The people also beat drums, shout and make all kinds of sounds to drive away the elephants but the daring elephants leave leisurely after they had finished the crops of their choice.

Sometimes, they were with their babies, which compounds the problem because elephants are very protective of their babies. Not only Deomali Township but the entire road stretch from Nagaghat near Joypore in Assam upto Pansumthong village, the animals roam freely on the roads.

The elephants coming upto Pansumthong village, hardly 12 km from the headquarters Khonsa is a new thing, sources informed.

Earlier, they used to come only beyond Hukanjuri check gate towards Khonsa. As a matter of fact the entire Khonsa-Bogapani-Joypore road falls under elephant corridor.

Therefore, it was natural for the elephants to roam freely, after all it was their habitat.

But fortunately, there has been no incident of elephants attacking people. They are very intelligent. They slowly give way to the passing vehicles. But still its really risky to travel through that road, especially at night.

Here as always, the culprit are the human beings, because of their greed, they have usurped and cleared the thick jungles which rightfully belonged to the elephants.

The main culprits were the wood cutters who indulge in hand-sawing by felling the huge trees and the farmers who have entered deep inside the jungles to cultivate the areas. Due to this problem, elephants have been forced to enter the human settlement areas thereby creating havoc, sources said.

During the last one decade it has been observed that the population of elephants has increased while their habitat has depleted greatly.

Some hunters clandestinely kill some elephants for meat and the invaluable tasks. Sometimes some elephants are electrocuted. Here, the forest department has to play a pro-active role and minimise the man-elephant conflict. The department needs to think out of the box and take steps if possible to re-locate the elephants.

The number of elephants is on the rise while their habitat is depleting fast. DFO VK Jawal is doing his bit to ensure that the man-elephant conflict in Deomali area is stopped. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the wherewithal to deal with the strange situation.

He is greatly under staffed and is handicapped to deal with the burgeoning problem, sources added.