TANGLA: A killer makhna (tuskless) elephant which had created terror in the past 5- 6 years claiming nearly 70 lives, was found dead at 1 No. Bolatar village under Nonai Reserve Forest along the Indo-Bhutan border in Udalguri district on Tuesday night with forest officials and veterinary experts suspecting that the animal was electrocuted by angry villagers.
The scared villagers of 1 no. Bholatar, along with those of the neighbouring area who bore witness to the fatal atrocities of the 60-65 year old loner elephant, had named the tusker 'Laden', after the infamous terrorist.
"We suspect that the elephant died of electrocution by infuriated villagers and it appears to be a retaliatory killing as there have been spate of incidents involving the loner wild elephant with its distinctive bifurcated ears and it could cover a large distance within a fraction of seconds," said a forest official.
Though intrusion of elephants from the forest of the Indo-Bhutan border into the villages is nothing new, 'Laden' was named so after he killed nearly 70 villagers and injured several others in the past seven years according to sources in the villages. A villager on anonymity said that the tusker had indeed spread fear among the villagers. "The agrarian people in our village are poverty-stricken and they return home late at night. We spent sleepless
nights and were are scared to step outside after nightfall as even forest officials do not come to our rescue citing lack of manpower and patrolling vehicles," he said. Marauding elephants have claimed 18 human lives as per official statistics against death of four elephants in the current year but unofficial sources indicate that there have been at least 25 human deaths. "The retaliatory killing of elephants by villagers due the lackadaisical attitude of the government is a warning bell as there are a couple of such loners which are still at large in the region," said wildlife activist Nabajyoti Baruah.