A herd of around 200 wild elephants, that descended down from the Indo-Bhutan border hills has unleashed a reign of terror in Udalguri of Assam.
They have entered villages including Orangajuli, Nonoipara, Segunbari, Bholatar and have created terror among the inhabitants for the past fortnight damaging several houses and injuring villagers.
The villages fall under Nonai forest division in Udalguri district.
“The villages are being frequented by wild jumbos every night as a result of which the villagers are spending sleepless nights. Every year, the elephants come and spark terror in our village,” said Tankeswar Deka, a resident of Borengabari village in Udalguri.
He said, “We have informed the Forest department about the elephant depredation who are also aiding the villagers to chase away the herd. The elephant herds are spotted in the area every night. This year alone two deaths were reported and one Towke Dorji, 38 received injury in both of his limbs in an attack by elephant on the night of May 4.”
Nabajyoti Baruah a conservationist of Udalguri told Northeast Now, “Forest personnel are keeping vigil and villagers are also volunteering to help them. Already a large herd of 200 elephants has descended down the hills and it will take worse turn in coming monsoon days.”
On a question if electric fencing has proved effective, Baruah said, “Electric fencing are deployed in some areas of Khalingduar Reserve Forest and Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary but lack of timely repairing has made them almost non-functional.”
“My living quarter in Orangajuli T E was damaged by a loner elephant. No one from the administration visited me, some villagers say I will get compensation but who knows how many years it will be taken to materialize,” rued Noha Tanti, a local.
A forest official said, “We have less manpower but we are patrolling the areas. The villagers are also helping us to drive the elephants away. This year there is a big herd which divides in 20-30 elephants and move in different directions, so we are having a tough time driving them away. ”
He further added in the division in 2019 alone 25 human casualities were reported against 14 injury and death of eight elephants where a total of 320 houses were ransacked and 295 hectares of cropland damaged in Udalguri.