It seems that nearly 40 wild Asiatic elephants came to a village looking for food and some of them found the rice beer that farmers ferment and keep in tin or plastic drums in their huts. There would have been more casualties if the villagers in Chandan Nukat, a village about 150 miles west of Shillong, hadn't chased them away. The elephants who are known for enjoying the taste of the locally brewed rice beer, got drunk and uprooted a power line and were electrocuted.
The northeast region of India is home to the world's largest of wild Asiatic elephants two states there having approximately 7,000 of them living there. They are the smaller cousins of the African elephants, having a smaller size and smaller ears. They are listed as endangered on the ICUN's Red list of threatened animals. Asian elephants have been used as beasts of burden for over 4,000 years and are most often doing work hauling lumber out of forests these days.
"It's great to have such a huge number of elephants, but the increasing man-elephant conflict following the shrinkage in their habitat to the growing human population is giving us nightmares," stated Pradyut Bordoloi, former Assam Forest and Environment Minister.
Possibly a heavy local campaign against drunk elephants along with a drunk tank for them will prevent the loss of life in the future.