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Darjeeling farmers erect fence to save crops from wild elephants

Kolabari village (Darjeeling), Mon, 02 Nov 2009 ANI

Kolabari village (Darjeeling), Nov 2 (ANI): Farmers are erecting fences in an attempt to save their crops from elephants menace in Kolabari village of Darjeeling district.


Herds of elephants going on rampage and destroying agricultural fields, is a common site here.


The Terai (foothills) belt of Darjeeling is spread up with massive tropical rainforest and is the home to a number of wild animals. Of these the elephant is the most common.


The forestlands in the area are inhabited by tribals and forest dwellers who mostly depend on the agricultural activities. Mostly paddy and maize are the principal crops raised by the people of this region. But, at the time of harvesting, the elephants often trample their well-tended crops.


Farmers said that the forest department officials are insensitive to their losses.


"We have erected fencing in an attempt to prevent elephants entering our fields and there's no current running in the wires. It's only that elephants see the wires and run away," said Hari Prasad, a farmer.


"Forest department has taken no step, they even oppose fencing saying that elephants do come in forest areas. They say they will take steps to prevent elephants entering agricultural fields but don't help and leave soon after the animals have fled from the fields," said Sunil Ghosh, secretary of a forest protection committee.


Forest officials say that they propose to beef up outposts to scare away the marauding jumbos.


"We plan maintenance work after we get funds. Watchtower and fencing are necessities and we plan to do that," said Suraj Chettri, a forest official.


Massive deforestation, poaching and people encroaching upon forest corridors have forced the pachyderms to move out of their natural habitats in search of food and water.


India has over 50 percent of Asiatic elephants, considered to be among the most intelligent animals. Unfortunately, the number of lephants has dwindled over the recent years. (ANI)


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