Crop raids and destruction of plantations have bred intense animosity towards wild elephants for the desperate farmers of Nongnah and Photkroh areas in South West Khasi Hills district, who have decided to kill them.
Aware there are laws to prevent such illegality and the need to protect wildlife, the Ranikor Area Farmers Association (FARA) said they lost all options after being subjected to years of torture and numerous unheard pleas to the authorities.
A meeting to decide on their course of action was convened by the association on January 20 at Photkroh and Nongnah villages which was attended by desperate farmers from Nongïohijngai, Dirang, Mawlangbah, 18 Mile and other neighbouring villages.
The farmers said there has been recurring incidences of wild elephants invading fields and farms. With no help from the wildlife department, these elephants are getting upset and have started chasing people too and farmers fear to go to their fields.
RAFA secretary, Kyrmen K Ryja said the villages around Nongnah have witnessed incidents of man-elephant conflict as many wild elephants have caused havoc in the village, causing widespread damages.
He said the concern was also raised with the Deputy Commissioner with a request to relocate the herd of wild elephants to sanctuaries so that they may not destroy farmers crops and property. However, he said till date no one has taken the initiative to alleviate their sufferings.
Ryja said in 2023 wild elephants have brought wanton destruction to the farmers and with no solutions in sight the farmers have decided to kill them on their own.
He argued that though there are laws that prevent killing of wild animals, the desperation of farmers warrants such decision because the authorities have failed to help them in distress.