Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal at the launch function in Guwahati on Thursday.

With the conflict between humans and wild animals taking a serious turn, the Assam government on Thursday launched anti-depredation squads across 15 major human-wildlife conflict affected districts to mitigate the menace.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in presence of Assam environment and forest minister Parimal Shuklabaidya launched the squad at a function in Guwahati on Thursday.

The Assam forest minister recently informed the state legislative assembly that 62 elephants have died in the state since January this year.

Similarly 63 people have been killed in different parts of the state during this period in conflict with elephants.

Forest department is engaging specially trained personnel including 50 frontline staffs trained to handle conflict situations.

“About 100 more staffs are also being trained at present for deployment in future,” said Shuklabaidya.

He said that the anti-depredation squad will be well equipped with all required logistics required for mitigating the conflict.

“At present they will have 150 nos of 12 Bore pump action guns and 15,000 rounds of rubber bullet ammunition,” he said.

The anti-depredation squad will be tasked to ensure safety humans as well as the wild animals.

The Assam forest department had recently tranquilized a rogue elephant named Laden (named after Al Quaeda chief Osama Bin Laden) from Rongjuli forest area in Western Assam’s Golapara district after it trampled five people within 24 hours in October this year.

Laden, which was renamed as Krishna after capture, and was taken to the Orang national park for captivating it.

The elephant later died in captivity, drawing sharp criticism for the failure of the forest department to handle the situation.