GUWAHATI, Sept 27: “Jangal ka matwala haathi, ek raah se aata. Sadaa niyam se nadi taal mein, haathi roj nahaata.” This beautiful rhyme imagined and written by Dr Parshuram Shukla happened to be an introduction to thousands of school children for the giant animal, the elephant. Traditionally, teachers and parents recited different folk tales, short stories and rhymes to narrate how an elephant behaves and looks like.
However, down the line, the folkloric narration on this gentle animal has got a sea change in the present day situation. Particularly, the discourse on elephant has often been on the limelight when there is a rising trend of men-elephant conflict irrespective of urban and rural landscape.
Due to rapid expansion of urbanization, visible increase on population density and immeasurable occupation of reserved forest areas across the state, phenomenon of men-elephant conflict is becoming only inevitable. As such, State’s capital city Guwahati is also not an exception.
Places like Panjabari, Baghorbori, Satgaon, Narengi and Forest Gate have been experiencing frequent violence and destruction of human properties due to men-elephant conflict. The roaming of wild elephant in human habitation areas in the city is so frequent that on Tuesday too, a herd of elephants destroyed some commercial shops besides crating terror among the residents at Panjabari.
It must be mentioned here that, Narengi has been prone to men-elephant conflict over the couple of months as earlier than last Tuesday too, a herd of wild elephants wrecked residential boundary walls and injured some individuals at Baghorbori area.
In this regard, talking to The Sentinel, a source of the State’s Forest Department said, “Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary has been a natural habitation of elephants. Hence, whenever there is a rarity of foodstuffs, the elephants make the adjoining areas as their corridors to find some consumption. As such, these areas turn vulnerable.”
We must remember that these herds of elephants and its natural spaces for habitation has been encroached and surrounded from all directions by individuals. Eventually, any resistance for its space has been resulting in human-elephant conflict. Ironically, in all these cases, only the Forest Department and the wild animals are blamed.
Now the question remains, shall we blame only these giant animals for creating havoc in human habitation? Who is responsible for reducing the traditional space for these wild animals? Who has let the elephants starved and forced to come out to the residential areas? Let us altogether think for a solution.