SILCHAR, Aug 13 - The recent spate of Man-Elephant conflict in the State has posed a serious threat to the proboscideans.
The Patharia Hills Reserve Forest in Karimganj district, very close to the neighbouring country of Bangladesh harbours seven female elephants and a calf which enter the human habitat, riding crops and other human property during the winter months.
According to Prof Parthankar Choudhury, eminent environmentalist and head, Department of Ecology and Environment Sciences at Assam University Silchar, �on August 6, while we (along with researcher Nazimur Rahman Talukdar) visited the area which is an elephant corridor, a female elephant, approximately aged 13 years died while a herd was crossing the rubber plantation areas under Medli Tea Estate, located in the fringe area of Patheria hills area and it was electrocuted due to poor maintenance of the electric lines and poles in the tea estate, (electric lines often reaches near the ground in many places within the tea estate).�
Further, Prof Choudhury said that even as the Divisional Forest Officer of the district and other officials of the department along with police authorities rushed to the spot, the fate of the remaining elephants were in jeopardy.�We anticipated that the under the prevailing conditions at the Forest Reserve, six surviving elephants are vulnerable. The authorities must take steps to save the elephants.
It can be mentioned here that, as per the information from the locals of the area, about a decade ago there had been one single male elephant in the group, which died due to reiteration killing in 2012.
In order to protect the remaining fragmented population of six females, translocation of at least one male from other places of the State is the immediate necessity, feels Prof Choudhury. The environmentalist has appealed to all the stakeholders, forest officials and conservationists to take up the issue in right earnest, so that the left out pachyderms do not face the tragedy of local extinction from Barak valley. �Forest department is also requested to pay timely compensation to wildlife victim in order to minimise reiteration killing, and also to strengthen vigilance so that anthropogenic interferences are prevented. Declare the area as sanctuary would be of great help for safeguarding this and other important flora and fauna of the locality,� Prof Choudhury maintained.
On the other hand, Karimganj Deputy Commissioner Pradip Kumar Talukdar has said that a case has been filed against the APDCL authorities for sloppy approach in maintaining the electric lines. �We understand the gravity of the situation and we are taking necessary measures. The APDCL authorities here have been alleged of negligence in rendering their duties,� the Deputy Commissioner informed.