GUWAHATI: Given frequent incidents of man-elephant conflicts in Assam, a well-known wildlife conservationist insisted on securing the animal’s habitats by the government.
Two days ago, some people caused the deaths of two adult wild elephants through electrocution in the Sivasagar district.
Kaushik Barua, the conservationist, said jumbos become the target of people when they venture into a new area.
“There is a steady shrinkage of elephant habitats in Assam due to encroachment. The destruction of habitats makes elephants venture into new areas. But there is a growing trend among people to attack the animal when it is found in a new area,” Barua said.
He felt the elephants could be protected by securing their habitats.
According to the last estimates, Assam has some 6,000 wild elephants. Their conflicts with human beings are common. On average, the state records the deaths of around 80 elephants every year. As many people also get killed.
The state’s forest department arrested six persons in connection with the Sivasagar incident.
Official sources said a case was registered and the accused persons were booked for violation of provisions under the Wildlife (Protection) Assam Amendment Act 2009. All of them were produced in a local court which sent them to judicial custody.
“The arrested accused caused the death of the two elephants by laying illegal electric fencing around Rabi crops in illegal cultivation area in Digholdorioli grazing land. Material evidence was seized from the field and the preliminary report confirmed signs of electrocution death,” the sources said.
They also said the Wildlife (Protection) Assam Amendment Act 2009 provides enhanced punishment as well as penalties for such crimes.