Man-animal conflicts in Odisha, India have risen due to intensive industrial activity in the mineral-rich state.
A 70-year-old woman not only lost her life, but her corpse also felt the wrath of a wild tusker in Odisha, India, said the police on Saturday, reported The Print. Maya Murmu was collecting water from a tubewell in a village on Thursday morning when she was attacked by the wild tusker who strayed from the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary. The elephant trampled her, following which she was taken to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries, said Rasgovindpur police station inspector Lopamudra Nayak. In the evening, when the family members of the deceased were performing her last rites, the tusker arrived once again, and suddenly dragged the corpse from the pyre. The elephant trampled her dead body again, threw it, and fled. The last rites were conducted after a few hours, an eyewitness said.
Conflicts between elephants and humans are a common occurrence in Odisha. Intensive industrial activity in the mineral-rich state has increased human encroachment on animal habitats, increasing the risk of encounters between villagers and elephants. A worrying trend in the state has also been a spike in the number of unnatural deaths of elephants. At least 1,356 elephants have died in Odisha since 2000-01, according to data provided by the state’s chief wildlife warden, reported the IANS news agency. At least 42 elephant deaths were recorded in the state in just seven months from April to October last year. Many other incidents of human-elephant conflict have been reported from other parts of the country, states Independent.
Elephants have a long memory, and several such attacks have been considered acts of revenge over the poaching activities, especially in Kenyan villages. Scientists believe poaching and competition for territories may have caused elephants to dislike humans in some cases. In Kerala, another state in India, there have been reports of a tiger stalking and killing the poacher who killed the other tigers. There has also been an incident where a female leopard crossed the borders of Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh, following a poacher who captured her cubs.
Elephant kills woman then returns to trample on her corpse https://t.co/D1JqYUCJCc— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) June 12, 2022
Duncan McNair, a lawyer and founder of conservation charity "Save The Asian Elephants," told Newsweek that the incident is a reminder that although gentle creatures, elephants can be "dangerous and deadly." However, McNair said these incidents rarely happen without the elephant having been provoked in some way. "These endangered elephants can be deadly dangerous, particularly when provoked or abused," he said. He further added that Asian elephants are particularly subject to "torture and stabbing" for easy use in the tourism industry. "Elephants are generally benign, and passive ... they don't rush out of nowhere to attack people that pose no threat to their safety, or babies or to anything like that," he said. "[This incident] is surprising because it shows no provocation of the elephant..." McNair said the elephant coming back and handling the body during the body, could be down to their "extraordinary cognitive abilities."