A herd of wild elephants from Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam has strayed into human habitats, mostly occupied by tea garden workers in Jorhat district, and damaged their houses, a forest official said.
The herd has destroyed at least 14 dwelling units of tea garden labourers at Saikota, Katonibari and Ranjangaon villages on the periphery of the sanctuary in the last two days, Divisional Forest Officer Sapan Saikia said. Tea plantations were also damaged by the herd, he said. Saikia said the elephant population in the sanctuary under Mariani forest range is increasing, forcing the animals to enter human habitations in search of food.
Two tea garden labourers were attacked by the wild elephants near Katonibari tea estate a few days earlier, the DFO said. The 27.8 sq km Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is home to over 50 wild elephants and other endangered species such as Hoolock Gibbon and the Bengal Slow Loris. The sanctuary is surrounded by tea gardens and a few small villages.