A herd of wild elephants straying out of the Amchang Wiuldlife Sanctuary in the eastern fringe of the Assam capital on Saturday trampled to death a woman in the Panjabari area of Guwahati, with the authorities locating her body only a day after. The woman, identified as Shalini Chhetri, a resident of Batahghuli in the Panjabari area of the city did not return home after she had gone to the Amchang WLS to fetch grass for her goats on Saturay morning.
A herd of 15 to 20 wild elephants straying out of the sanctuary meanwhile had destroyed several thatch-and-bamboo houses in the area, forcing the people to flee to safety. The woman’s body was recovered on Sunday morning from near the sanctuary.
“We got information about the elephants going on the rampage as well as that of the woman remaining missing on Saturday evening. But, while launching a search operation was not possible after dusk, the woman’s body was discovered only after a three-hour search on Sunday morning,” Guwahati Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) Dibyadhar Gogoi said.
Gogoi said that the elephants of Amchang – the sanctuary’s 47 elephants last counted in 2012 must have increased to 55 now – had broken up into two herds about a month back, with one group often coming out towards Panjabari, the other towards Panikhaiti. One member of the second herd had died due to electrocution on December 2 near Panikhaiti, DFO Gogoi said. Guwahati city, which is said to have the highest number of wildlife species among all cities in the world, has two herds of wild elephants. While the Amchang WLS has between 50 to 55 elephants, the Rani reserved forest to the west of the city has between 90 and 110 elephants.