Ranchi: An five-member panel set up by the Jharkhand forest department to look into the recent cases of elephant attacks has filed a report stating that one rogue pachyderm has trampled 15 to death in a fortnight, besides wreaking havoc in five districts, an official said.
The panel, chaired by Ranchi conservator of forest (CF) P Rajendra Naidu, has recommended that the pachyderm be tranquillised and captured.
Incidents reported in Hazaribag, Latehar, Chatra, Lohardaga & Ranchi
Talking to PTI, Naidu said, "The panel, after a thorough inquiry, has confirmed that one elephant has killed 15 people and injured four others in the past fortnight. Three deaths were reported from Hazaribag, one from Chatra, two from Latehar, five in Lohardaga and four in Ranchi." He explained that the committee had employed multiple methods to arrive at the conclusion.
"We have our internal tracking system, under which every district reports about the movement of elephants in their respective areas. The movement of this particular elephant was monitored for days. Videos and photographs collected from the districts were also matched," he said.
Sasikar Samanta, the principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF-Wildlife), told PTI, said the order to tranquilise the elephant has been given.
People living in state of anxiety
Samanta, who had set up the committee to find out if one elephant was behind the deaths and damage, also said that the department was currently scouting for a space to house the pachyderm, following its tranquilisation.
Meanwhile, villagers in Ranchi's Itki block, where section 144 has been promulgated after the elephant was seen wandering in forests nearby, are living in a state of anxiety.
Ranchi divisional forest officer (DFO) Srikant Verma said, "The elephant was located in Puriyo area of the block around 4am on Thursday. It did not cause any harm to anyone in the past two days. Villagers, however, have been asked to remain alert." Man-elephant conflicts have been on the rise in Jharkhand with reports revealing that 133 people have died in jumbo attacks in 2021-22, a steep climb from 84 in 2020-21.
The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate, in a reply to a RTI application, recently said that 462 people have died in man-elephant conflicts in five years since 2017 in Jharkhand.
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