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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Berhampur: Blame it on animals as much as you can, but some recent reports suggest that humans often play the role of an instigator in a man-animal conflict. A case in point is the man-animal conflict at Nuapalli village under North-Ghumusar Forest Range in Bhanjanagar which claimed two precious lives.

Two persons including a minor boy were trampled to death by wild tuskers on Sunday while attempting to get closer to a newborn calf which instigated the mother elephant.

Sources said Sukru Nayak was the first victim of a herd of elephants crossing a cashew orchard near the village. The mother elephant among them saw red in Nayak when he ventured too near to her baby and trampled him to death. The scene was so gory that even some of the onlookers were reportedly nauseated by Nayak's death.

Kamala Nayak, the sister of Sukru said, "My brother was out in the jungle to relieve himself. The elephant herd killed him while he was returning from the jungle."

Unfortunately, nobody learnt from the mistake that Nayak did. After his death, locals of Nuapalli reportedly thronged the spot to get a glimpse of the elephant herd from as near as possible.

Agitated by the crowd, an elephant attacked a 13-year-old Ganesh Gauda and injured him seriously.

Though, the locals rushed Gauda to the hospital, he could not survive the attack and breathed his last on the way to hospital itself.

Abani Gauda, a local said, "He was a poor lad and his parents are working in a mill in Surat. The government should grant compensation to his family."

However, Gauda's aunt blamed the State government for the death of the minor boy. "I do not want compensation. I want my nephew back," she said with teary eyes.

The sordid story of 'ignorant' people teasing the wild elephants does not stop there. In fact, pictures from Mayurbhanj and Balasore have an affinity to this where people were seen playing hide and seek with the wild elephants.

Lala AK Singh, a wildlife expert termed this kind of incidents as dangerous and illegal. "If people do not learn after so much incidents of deaths, then we have only ourselves to blame," said Singh.

Looking at the scurry of deaths due to carelessness of people, Odisha PCCF, Harishankar Upadhyay appealed, "Please do not think them as domestic animals. They can be pretty unpredictable when teased. People should maintain safe distance from them."

(Edited By Ramakanta Biswas)

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