An elephant trampled to death a woman who had gone to fetch fodder in the Bibiwala area of Rishikesh.

The incident comes amid the Forest Department's orders to identify and kill an elephant that had killed at least four persons in the past one year.

Elephants had killed about 31 persons in the Rishikesh-Haridwar region over the past five years and villagers had retaliated by killing at least five pachyderms in the past 10 years.

Massive encroachments

The man-animal conflict finds its roots in the massive encroachments and development projects fragmenting the elephant habitat from the Yamuna to the Corbett Tiger Reserve area.

As fodder and water get scarce in the fragmented pockets, elephants raid villages and villagers ‘hurt' them back to protect their property.

Local participation

The tall claims of electric fencing to check animals from coming out of the forests could become a reality only when the foresters spend more time and resources on maintaining them with local participation.

These fences were often broken by animals or villagers, who see the foresters as bullies, said social worker Seema Bisht.