Tuesday, June 3, 2008

ELEPHANTS UNDER THREAT IN JHARKHAND.



ELEPHANTS UNDER THREAT IN JHARKHAND, INDIA.

By
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

A mother elephant, and one-and-a-half-years-old calf died early morning on 2nd June after being electrocuted at Gerua village near Jamshedpur city in India. The pachyderms died after coming in contact with live electric wires that were passing about 7ft above the ground. Villagers had drawn a long wire from from an electric pole by erecting a bamboo pole to get electricity in their houses. As these wires were hanging at a height of 7 feet with the support of the bamboo, the calf elephant came in the contact with the wire when one of the bamboo trunks fell.
Elephants cross this area on a regular basis and the low lying wire caused the trouble. This is a regular phenomenon.
Incidents of elephants falling prey to electrocution have been reported from Koderma and Seraikela district of Jharkhand state.
The animals died on the spot. The shock resulted in the immediate cardiac and brain failure, said an expert.
The elephants were moving in herd in the sanctuary when a high tension carrying 1100 VA power fell on the two elephants. Both elephants died on the spot. In Jharkhand More than 11 elephants have been electrocuted to death in last seven years. The forest officials blame the low height of the electric wires passing through forest areas. The wires get in touch with tree and get broken and fell on the wild animals causing their death.
Recently a wild elephant named Osama Bin Laden has been shot dead in Jharkhand state, after killing more than eleven people.
According to forest officials the killed tusker has trampled to death to 11 people injured 22 in last two months. The same tusker had killed six people in Purulia district of West Bengal on May 21.
It had been terrorising villagers in two states, and had destroyed crops and homes.
Forest officials and a police team tracked the creature down in the state and said it took 20 bullets to silence him.

With paddy crop being ready for harvest in Jharkhand, the farmers of Ramgarh District of Jharkhand are a worried lot. They fear arrival of elephants from the nearby forests trespassing into the fields for food.
At times, the elephants cause havoc. Farmers lament the loss of crops worth lakhs of rupees as rampaging elephants destroy the fruit of their hard work.
Many people have been trampled to death and dozens of houses destroyed by elephants in the villages lining the forest land in recent months. Villagers shirk from moving around freely.
“These elephants have become a real menace now. They kill our folk, they hurt us, damage our crops. In one incident where this elephant dragged a man out of his house and killed him. The government hardly do anything. They do compensate the families immediately after the event but that’s it,” said a local villager.
During the season when paddy fields have standing crops, elephants attack villages and the surroundings to feast on the paddy. Incidences of man-animal encounter have increased over the past few years with forests areas fast depleting and animals looking for food stray into the human territory. Due to this conflict many people have lost their lives.
As larger patches of forest have disappeared from the state. Elephants need massive tracts of land because, much like the slash-and-burn farmers, they are used to crashing through the forest, tearing down trees and shrubs for food and then cycling back later on, when the area has re-grown. As forests are reduced to small pockets, elephants become part of the problem, quickly destroying all the vegetation in an area, eliminating all their resources.
Conflict over resources and access to land increases between elephants and humans as settlements develop around permanent water sources. In Jharkhand the elephants visit human settlement in search of alcohol which is locally made of Mahua tree (Madhuca longfolia ).
In Jharkhand the population of elephants have declined. The elephants population declined to 622 from 772 in the current census. The current census was conducted in May this year.
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