Thiruvananthapuram: Forest Minister A K Saseendran claims that precautionary measures were not taken to prevent the bison attacks because it was unprecedented in the State. However, this has been proven wrong by the Forest Department’s records and statistics.
Bison attacks were reported in at least 20 places in the State from 2016 February 1 through March 6, 2023. Unofficial data indicates 8 were killed and 12 were injured in these attacks. According to Forest Department's official data, 5 have been killed and 11 were injured in bison attacks between 2021 June and 2023 March 31.
The eight deceased persons include a Forest department guide, an estate worker, a migrant woman labourer and a farmer. The injured persons include 4 forest watchers and one forest officer. Strangely, the Minister said there have been no bison attacks reported earlier, even as his department staff have been victims of bison attacks in the past.
The previous attacks were reported from Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kannur, and Kozhikode districts. As per the data, 3 deaths were reported in Idukki and one each in Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kannur and Ernakulam districts.
Within 7 years, seven persons each were injured in bison attacks in Idukki and Thiruvananthapuram districts. The injuries were reported in bison attacks at Idamalakudi Panchayath in Idukki, Singukudi near Kallar Estate in Munnar, Vandiperiyar, Marayur Mangalampara, Karayur Chandana Reserve Padumbi section, Makkiyad in Kozhikode district, Palode Panayamuttam, Palode Idinjar, and Vithura Manali in Thiruvananthapuram, and Koruthodu in Kottayam.
The last on the list are the incidents reported on 19th May 2023. Three persons were killed in bison attacks at Kottayam Erumeli and Kollam Ayirur on the same day.