Man-elephant conflict on rise in Udalguri district of Assam


The continuing man-elephant conflict has taken a serious turn in Udalguri district in the present month of October causing deaths of one wild elephant and four human beings.In yet another death one Alfash Orang(30) was trampled by wild jumbo while he was on way to work in 13 No. Line area of Bhutiachang Tea garden under Paneri PS in Udalguri district along the Indo-Bhutan border of Assam on Wednesday morning.The person was rushed in critical condition to GMCH,Guwahati who succumbed to his injuries mid-way.The rising casualities have evoked fear among the border populace who have been spending sleepless nights. They have largely blamed the inactive role of the forest department in tackling the menace. Talking to this writer,Divisional Forest Officer,

Dhansiri Forest Division,Udalguri,Madhurjya Sarma informed that the forest department has adopted every possible measures to tackle the issue. Sarma stated that many of the casuality has been reported to be that in confrontation with loner jumbo which has strayed out of the herd and to monitor the movement of herds it is possible but in case of loner it becomes very difficut. He also blamed the tea garden authorities for sending labours early morning to work risking their lives. On being asked for roping in Kumki or the trained captive elephants used in operations to chase wild elephants in the region,Sarma said that they had last year used Kumki elephants in Kundarbil area of Udalguri but the Badlapara tea estate and Nonai forest range area are usely monitored by forest personals with the help of vehicles.

He further stated that a herd of nearly 15 wild elephants is reportely taking shelther in Bhutiachang Tea Estate area and a team of forest guards have been directed to monitor their movement.Sarma also stated that he will apprise the matter to the higher authorities for chalking out mitigating measures. He also stated that forest department lacks necessary man-power and he will seek the help of villagers and nature loving youths by distributing flashlights and necessary gears monitor the movement of herds specifically in the post-harvesting season which witnesses rising cases of human casualities..In Dhansiri division of Udalguri alone 8 elephants were killed in 2012–13, 10 in 2013-14 and 7 in 2014-15, 7 in 2016 and 7 in the year 2017 till date against lost of 21 human lives and 12 injury in 2015-16, 9 human lives and 12 injuries in 2016 while 7 humans and 8 elephants lost their lives in 2017. “Udalguri has witnessed eleven human and four elephant deaths due to man-elephant encounters in 2018 till date.

“Its high time the state government should not wake up from deep slumber and not only deliver lip-service in the name of mitigating the  man-elephant conflict but should adopt strategies ” says known wildlife activist of Udalguri,Nabajyoti Baruah. He further advocates that the forest department should set up control rooms at its divisional offices to monitor the situation and anti-depredation squads should be set up in each division involving local youths as volunteers to deal with the problem.Baruah also exhorted the government to adopt measures similar to Bandipur National Park in Karnataka. ” M.D. Madhusudhan of the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, has tried out mitigation measures on agricultural lands by installation of co-operative electric fences. Such experiment has been very successful in Karnataka.If this model can be replicated in Assam and scaled up it can help reduce the conflict to a great extent.” He added.

Shajid Khan is an Independent journalist and a law student in his stint of journalistic experience he has contributed numerous political, socio-political stories for bountiful national,international as well as Assam based publications. He also pens down analytic commentary on print and web based publications. He can be reached at [email protected]



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