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December 27, 2010
The combined wild Elephant Population of North Bengal is about 500. The vegetative degeneration in addition to innumerable human
habitations inside the forests has rendered the existing habitats in the area redundant. Moreover, the forests have become too fragmented even to support the 300-odd elephants, thus the elephants are compelled to move through tea gardens, villages and agricultural
fields killing more than 60 persons annually. In contrast to the figures for north Bengal , only 30 to 40 deaths are caused by human-elephant conflict in southern India , even though the elephant population is more than 20 times the Wild elephant population
of North Bengal.
The locals use spears, arrows, firecrackers and even firearms to drive away the elephants. Invariably the Elephant gets injured
and unable to bear the pain goes berserk, causing even more damage. A lot of Elephants face an agonising death each year.
A recently upgraded Railway line from Siliguri to Alipurduar has added a new dimension to Human Elephant Conflict. Since the conversion
of the tracks a few years back, over 25 Elephants have been hit by trains. On the night of 23nd September’2010, seven elephants including a four year old calf died when a Guwahati bound goods train passing through dense forest knocked them down.
Four of the elephants died on spot including one female that was dragged along for 300 meters by the train, The baby elephant was outwardly without any wound; but it slumped to the ground and died later in the morning.
Please assist us in raising awareness about the issue. All suggestion and inputs are welcome.