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One trampled to death by domestic elephant

By Correspondent

NORTH LAKHIMPUR, May 8 - A person was trampled to death by a domesticated elephant in Bogeenadi in Lakhimpur district on Wednesday. The tragic incident took place on NH-15 near the Padumoni Forest camp under Pathalipam Forest Beat of Lakhimpur district which falls under Bogeenadi Police Station.

The victim has been identified as Manoranjan Pegu (35) of Paken village under Gohpur Police Station of Biswanath district. Pegu was stuck with his domesticated elephant inside Aruncahal Pradesh in Dullungmukh during the lockdown and was returning home along with a group on that day. The group consisted of two domesticated elephant and suddenly one of them turned violent and trampled Pegu to death. The charging elephant then entered the nearby jungle with the mahout on its back, where it was later chained after a long struggle. The officials from the Pathalipam Forest Beat reached the spot along with police from the Bogeenadi Police Station and Chawul Dhowa Police Outpost and sent the victim�s body for post-mortem to North Lakhimpur.

The inter-State boundary area in Lakhimpur district with Arunachal Pradesh stretching from Dullung-Kakoi-Zoihing-Ronga-Bogolee-Durpnag to Sesa is an elephant corridor where man-elephant conflicts take place in regular intervals often leading to tragedies.

On March 11 this year, a teenage girl was trampled to death in Zoihing Tea Estate on Assam-Arunachal boundary in Lakhimpur. This elephant corridor zone has been badly affected by unplanned and unauthorized human settlements, plantations of encroached forest lands and other illegal activities since a long period of time.

It may be recalled that rural areas of Lakhimpur district bordering Arunachal Pradesh have been severely hit by movement of wild elephants since last week of April. A lone wild jumbo has been creating panic among the villagers near Harmutty under Bogolee Reserve Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary and was first seen visiting residential areas. After that, the same jumbo was seen in Rajgarh area in Shimaluguri, which had reportedly come down from the Sesa hills from Arunachal Pradesh. Interestingly, the wild elephant was roaming around the area because of the presence of a domesticated female elephant and her calf. Though the wild jumbo was pushed back by the Forest personnel from Lakhimpur towards the hills of Arunachal Pradesh, it came back soon for the domestic elephant roaming in the villages of Madhupur, Shankarpur, Rampur and Bisabari. On April 28, the wild jumbo was pushed towards the hills in Letekujan area from Nojpur village in Shimaluguri after an 11-hour operation conducted jointly by the police and Forest department. However, the wild jumbo returned to the domestic one on the very next day and damaged a tractor used for carrying food to the domestic mother-calf duo by their mahout.

Earlier on April 25, a large herd of wild elephants crossed the village of Bhitoripam-Nepali in Phulbari in Nowboicha and moved to Bogolee Reserve Forest. The area, earmarked as an elephant corridor, has not been properly maintained by the district Forest department as alleged by some local villagers. Therefore, the crossing of more than 100 wild elephants through the village created panic among the people as houses were destroyed by them on earlier occasions.

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