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Man-animal conflict: Assam 2nd in killings by animals, NCRB report says

Source: Times of India, Date: , 2013

GUWAHATI: The shrinking forest cover has not only escalated man-animal conflict in Assam, but has also resulted in increasing casualties on both sides. A recent report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) highlighted the gravity of the problem as the state stood second in the country in the category of killings by animals between 2009-2011.

"Within these three years, 290 people faced the wrath of the animals in Assam. Maharashtra topped the chart with 385 casualties in the category," said the report. Odisha is at third place with 229 human casualties by animals in this time span.

Apart from this, at least 70 people have been killed so far in confrontations with wild animals, mostly jumbos, in different parts of the state, since 2012 beginning.

Earlier, state forest minister Rockybul Hussain announced deployment of rapid response teams in 15 districts and at Kaziranga National Park to deal with the rising man-animal conflict in the state. "We plan to put in place these teams within March and we are also planning a helpline number," the minister said.

The rapid response teams, on receiving an emergency call, will rush to the concerned spot and neutralize the situation. "We want people to call our teams instead of attacking animals," Hussain added.

Though the NCRB report did not specify which animal killed most humans in the state, a forest department official claimed that in Assam, jumbos are the biggest killer as almost 11 out of the 27 districts in the state are in the grips of human-elephant conflict.

"A recent elephant census carried out by the Assam forest department revealed that there are around 5,620 elephants that are spread over 20 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks," said a forest official.

On Sunday, the carcass of an elephant calf was found at Hollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Jorhat district, forest officials said. The calf was suspected to have been poisoned. Meanwhile, a woman was killed by a wild elephant in Goalpara.

Last week, six persons were killed by an elephant that went on a rampage in Arunachal Pradesh's West Siang district bordering Dhemaji district in Assam. The forest department failed to control the animal and later shot it dead.