Families living on trees in Jharkhand for fear of elephants

At least four families have been forced to live on trees because of the terror of rampaging elephants near Ranchi, the capital city in Jharkhand.

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Ranchi, Nov 30: At least four families have been forced to live on trees because of the terror of rampaging elephants near Ranchi, the capital city in Jharkhand.

A herd of elephants has created fear among the people living in villages near Ranchi as well as those travelling along the Ranchi- Jamshedpur National Highway.

Families living on trees in Jharkhand

The highway remains deserted for hours due to the fear of the wandering elephants.

Some families living in Loharatola village in Bundu, around 45 km from Ranchi, have made makeshift perches on trees. They sleep on trees to protect themselves from elephants.

A herd of elephants amaged their houses last year. The families left their village and have been living through fields as they have agricultural land.

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"During the daytime, we are involved in farming activities. The children collect small pieces of bricks for pelting at the elephants," said Janki Munda, head of a family which lives on trees.

There are more than 15 families in the village and all depend on farming for their livelihood.

The village lacks basic facilities, exposing the tall claims made by the state government about development work in Jharkhand.

"We are left to fend ourselves. We eke out living by cultivating our farms. We have no other option for making our living. We live in the fear of elephants and have made makeshift shelters on trees," said Parikshit Lohra.

Jharkhand has been witnessing large-scale devastation by rampaging elephants.

Herds of elephants damage standing crops, houses and kill people. More than 1,000 people have been killed by elephants in Jharkhand since the state was carved out of Bihar in November 2000.

The number of elephants in the state has increased from 624 in 2007 to 688 in 2012.

At least 154 elephants have lost their lives in the state for various reasons, including electrocution, being run over by trains and because they consumed poisonous substances.

According to experts, human habitats developed on the elephant corridor have been causing conflict.

"We will immediately send a team of senior officials and all possible help will be extended to the families living on trees," Sukhdeo Singh, Jharkhand Forest and Environment Secretary, told IANS.

"We are working on short- and long-term plans to minimise the conflict between humans and elephants," he added.

IANS

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