The entire north Bengal region and the eastern part of Nepal has been one contiguous elephant habitat for centuries. "The elephants have always been crossing the Mechi river into Nepal to raid paddy and corn fields. Of late, due to increase in the human population and the conversion of forests into farmland in Nepal, man-animal conflicts have increased. The herds have been destroying crops, houses and attacking humans there, leading to brutal retaliation from people on the Nepal side. Last year, they killed three elephants...this year, they have already killed two," Sumita Ghatak, Darjeeling's district forest officer (wildlife division), told Outlook.
Long march: Forest guards and locals on a watch at the Balasom river, part of the annual "jumbo corridor" for herds coming down from the Mahananda forest range