Three people were mauled to death by elephants at two different places in Chhattisgarh’s Surajpur district on Friday morning.
Elephants have been on rampage for past 20 days and nearly five people have lost their life in elephant attacks in last 12 days in Surajpur and Surguja regions. The incident took place at Matigada forests when 16-year-old Ratan Bargah and his friend Atan Sai were out to collect Mahua fruit, a forest produce from forests, in early morning and were suddenly attacked by an elephant. Both of them succumbed to injuries on the spot.
Another 20-year-old man Ramsagar, who went with two others in the forest of Palma to collect Mahua was brutally trampled to death while others ran for life and were saved.
In both incidents, villagers ventured into the forest before dawn to collect as much produce they could and failed to notice the elephant approaching them as it was still dark. It was only in the morning when villagers spotted bodies of the deceased that forest department was further informed.
Chhattisgarh’s northern regions continue to struggle with human-animal conflict where wild elephants, sloth bear, snakes and other wildlife creatures are found in abundance and frequent incidents of attacks and death of both human and animals are reported.
Wildlife activist Masoor Khan told TOI, “Amid fight for food and both human, animal depending on forest produce, it’s duty of forest department to divide few patches of forest regions among both and declare a no-go area for humans. One can’t control venturing of animals, but human’s intervention in forests could be controlled.”