Jumbo tramples forest ranger to death in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: A 45-year-old forest range officer, who had gone with other officials to drive away a herd of elephants from paddy fields, was trampled to death by a tusker at Ampada village in Odisha‘s Kalahandi district on Sunday. This is the first time a range officer has been killed in the past two decades of human-elephant conflict in the state. The deceased was identified as Prasanta Pal, who was range officer of Narla.
Quoting eyewitnesses and preliminary reports, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Susanta Nanda said the tusker appeared suddenly from the bushes, leaving little scope for Pal to run for cover.
“After villagers complained about possible damage to harvested paddy, the range officer along with five personnel had gone to drive away a herd of about 25 elephants from the fields. Pal died on the spot,” Nanda told TOI. Forest officials said the villagers had cut paddy and had gathered the same on the fields. After the elephants strayed into the fields, they feared the produce will be destroyed.
They took the help of forest officials, hoping they will be able to lift the paddy. After the forest personnel came, the elephants got more aggressive, sources said. “In fact, the forest staff requested the villagers they should wait till the herd leaves on its own. The villagers insisted on driving them away,” Nanda added.

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