ROURKELA: The death toll in elephant attacks in past nine months in Sundargarh district has gone up to 14 with another person falling victim to the wrath of the pachyderms on Sunday evening.
One Samuel Jojo (55) was trampled to death near Tiklipara village in Bargaon block under Sundargarh Forest Division. Sundargarh DFO Arjun Behera said Jojo was going on a bicycle when he came across a herd of 18 elephants. From the body, it appeared that he was first flung into the air and then trampled, he added.
The DFO suspected that it is the same herd that had killed a woman and her two-year-old son in Kutra block on September 26 night. He said the herd was last seen in a forest adjacent to Tiklipada village.
Sources said in the last nine months, the district comprising three forest divisions has registered 14 human deaths. While Sundargarh Forest Division tops with six deaths, Rourkela Forest Division accounts for five human casualties and Bonai Forest Division three. Despite the rising number of human casualties, chilly repellent techniques are yet to be adopted in several areas.
Rourkela DFO Sanjeet Kumar said the technique includes generation of chilli smoke using ‘mashals’ (torches) and chilli-based fencing for outer areas and keeping dung briquettes laced with chilli powder in storage areas of food grains.
The technique, which was experimented at Khamarapahar of Kuanrmunda block by a plantation watcher, has managed to keep the elephants away from his house for a month. The same technique applied at Kuanrmunda dairy farm also seems to be working.
Sundargarh Divisional Forest Officer said he would assess the efficacy of chilli -based techniques at other vulnerable areas under his division.