Jumbos create menace in West Bengal villages

November 24th, 2007 - 5:38 pm ICT by admin  

Nandarbuni (WB), Nov 24 (ANI): Villagers in West Bengal’s Birbhum District continue to be affected by elephants’ intrusion in human populated areas.
In last five days, the Nandarbuni village in the District has witnessed two incidents of elephants running amok causing severe damage to standing crops and houses.
On Friday, a herd of 15 elephants entered the village and damaged standing crops.
Tuskers often come out of their natural habitat due to dwindling forests and enter human inhabited areas in search of food, resulting in man-animal conflict.
Villagers say these types of incidents are common in the area.
“The elephants come from (forests in) Jharkhand. They entered Rhinogarh Bazar and destroyed the fields,” Niloy Ghosh, a villager, said, adding that “Police and forest officials came for inspection, but they said nothing about payment of damages.”
The man-animal conflict often ends with villagers killing elephants. Wildlife experts say it is imperative to take the villagers away from wildlife habitats by providing them alternative means of livelihood.
Home to 50,000 wild Asian elephants a century ago, just 26,400 elephants were left in India’s national parks and forests in 2002.
The first comprehensive elephant census published in 2005 showed a steep drop in their numbers to 21,300 elephants.
A recent survey by the Union Environment Ministry reported a steady depletion of forestland in 11 major wildlife reserves since 1997.
According to the survey, only 20 percent of India’s landmass is forested and just 120,000 square kilometers (46,340 square miles) — less than four percent of the country — of that is suitable for elephants. (ANI)

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