Wild tuskers have killed 105 persons in the State between 2018 and 2022, according to the data shared by the office of the State Chief Wildlife Warden in response to a Right to Information Act application filed by RTI activist Raju Vazhakkala.
Nearly half the victims were killed in the past two years with 27 persons falling prey to attack by wild elephants in 2021 and 23 in 2022. While 20 each victims died in elephant attacks in 2018 and 2020, 15 lives were lost in 2019.
That the eastern circle in Palakkad accounted for the most number of victims, 38, comes as little surprise considering how a wild tusker, PT-7, created havoc in the village of Dhoni in Palakkad till he was tranquillised and caged in an operation by forest officials on Sunday. The tusker had since been renamed after the very village.
The northern circle in Kannur and the high range circle in Kottayam accounted for 17 victims each followed by 11 in the central circle in Thrissur, seven each in southern circle in Kollam and wildlife circle, Palakkad. Wildlife circle, Kottayam, accounted for six lives and ABP circle, Thiruvananthapuram, accounted for two victims.
As per Project Elephant, a Centrally-administered scheme, legal heirs of victims of wild animal attacks are eligible for a compensation of ₹10 lakh, which is shared in the ratio of 60:40 between the Central and State governments though the allocation is subjected to the norms of the State government.
The Central allocation under the project between 2018 and 2022 stood at ₹3.90 crore. In 2017-18, ₹75 lakh were allocated followed by ₹75.60 lakh in 2018-19, ₹79.96 lakh in 2019-20, ₹75.36 lakh in 20202-21, and ₹84.63 lakh in 2021-22.