Five persons were believed to be trampled to death by a lone tusker in two nearby villages of Odisha’s Angul district late Thursday night.
Of the five deceased, three belonged to one family, who were engaged in brickmaking. They were sleeping on verandah of house in Sandha village in Angul district when the elephant was believed to have attacked them. They died on the spot. The elephant attacked another woman in the same village and crushed her. The incident took place around midnight.
After one hour, another death was reported from Santhapada, a few kilometers away from the first village. Identity of the victim was yet to be ascertained.
The man-elephant conflict is critical in Odisha. According to Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO), an environmental pressure group, the State has lost 694 elephants, while 661 human deaths were reported in elephant attack in last nine years.
In 2018-19, as many as 92 persons died in elephant attacks, highest in a single year. The year also saw 91 elephants losing lives, which is also a record.
In April this year, three elephants have already been killed while 10 human deaths have been recorded in the State.
“Last year’s 92 human deaths in elephant attack was the highest ever recorded human casualty in a year. Acute human-elephant conflict continues unabated due to total lack of concern of Odisha forest department. We anticipate more casualties this year as well,” said Biswajit Mohanty of WSO.
Mr. Mohanty said, “in the fresh case if the elephant was a lone tusker, the animal being in aggressive state-of-the-mind could attack more people. The forest department should immediately corner the elephant in a forest and prevent further attacks. At the same time, people should be asked to venture out of their homes cautiously.”
Meanwhile, agitated people in the locality demanded that the forest department should take proper steps so that elephant would not stray into human habitations. The State government pays a compensation of ₹4 lakh to family members of a person killed by wild animals.