Herd of wild elephants on rampage in Surguja (India)


Times of India

Date Published

Bilaspur: A 13 strong herd of wild elephants destroyed several houses in village Kesra in Mainpat area of Surguja in the last couple of days and a male elephant attacked a young girl in village Gersa under Lundra block of Surguja, thrashing her to the ground with its trunk.

A male tusker that had strayed from a herd of 25 wild elephants, entered village Gersa during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday. 14 year-old Anita Yadav came out of her house to attend to nature’s call and before she could realize, the tusker lifted her with its trunk and thrashed her on the ground. Hearing the girl’s cries, her family and other villagers began shouting. The noise distracted the wild elephant and it left the village. Anita was brought to Lundra primary health centre from where she was referred to district hospital at Ambikapur. Her family members, however, got her admitted to Mission hospital at Ambikapur, where she is battling for life in ICU.

In another incident, a herd of 13 wild elephants, that has been camping in Kadraja forest range, had been spreading terror in the area for the last four months. The herd had come to Kandraja range in January. Splitting into smaller herds, the elephants destroyed crops, damaged houses and even claimed two human lives in surrounding villages. The herd was chased away into Kora forest division recently. During the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, five wild elephants from that herd again came to Kandraja area and entered village Kesra in Mainpat area. The herd destroyed a house completely and damaged several others.

To control the menace of wild elephants in the area, Surguja DFO Md Shahid has invited Dr Rudra, a wild elephant expert from Himachal Pradesh. Dr Rudra along with local forest officials and villagers has been trying to chase away the wild elephants from the villages. For this, they have filled gunny sacks with chilly powder and after lacing it with oil, a torch is made, which is burnt whenever wild elephants come near human habitat. The effort has been effective in keeping the wild elephants away from the villages, as the smell of burning chilly powder chases them away.

Herds of wild elephants have destroyed 29 houses and claimed two human lives in Mainpat region during the last four months.

Forest department has so far disbursed compensation worth Rs 40 lakh to affected families.