Herds of wild elephants have caused significant damage to approximately 29 rice fields in Phushumi Village, leaving farmers devastated and concerned about their livelihoods. The incident, which occurred over the past week, has once again brought to light the ongoing issue of human-wildlife conflict in the region. Phushumi Village is located in the VK area of Zunheboto district.
The elephants, estimated to be a group of around 30-40 in number, entered the cultivated area near Phushumi Village trampling and devouring crops as they moved through the area.
Speaking to Mokokchung Times, Zhekuto, Chairman of Phushumi village said that 29 fields and huts in the fields have been reduced to ruins, and the loss of income has left many families in distress.
He said that the wild elephants frequent the area leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. “It’s just that the elephants haven’t come out to the village,” the distressed chairman narrated.
He further mentioned that village men are taking turns to guard against the wild elephants and that, due to the monsoon season, controlled forest fires are not a viable option. In light of this, they are even considering the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as a means to deter the wild animals.
Zhekuto also highlighted that similar incidents have occurred in nearby villages, estimating that approximately a hundred elephants are roaming the area.
Local authorities and forest officials arrived at the scene to assess the situation and did a spot verification after he filed a complaint to the EAC, the chairman said, adding that no assistance has yet been provided.
Meanwhile, Kughaho, the Gaon Burha (GB) of Phushumi village also expressed his concern over the unprecedented intrusion by wild elephants into their village area. He explained that while the elephants had previously crossed the nearby Doyang River, this was the first time they had ventured into the village area.
The GB further revealed that the villagers reported the incident to the Extra Assistant Commissioner (EAC) of the region.