Rourkela, February 25:(LocalWire) Panic gripped in Sundargarh town after a tusker strayed into a school-and-church campus on Sunday and stayed put for several hours.
As the news of the breach spread, wildlife officials rushed to the spot to take control of the situation.
They were hoping to force the pachyderm back into the nearby jungle, but the animal fled the campus, causing a major headache for officers on its trail.
The six-year-old tusker had broken open the perimeter wall around 6 am. The situation worsened as it was a Sunday, as scores of church-goers had come for prayers, a person privy of the development said.
People were surprised to see the tusker loitering on the campus.
Officials suspect the elephant may have come from the nearby Ujalpur forest, as the tusker went back to the forest on its own in the evening.
“We were planning to chase away the animal in the evening, but the tusker left the campus towards Ujalpur forest on its own,” Sundargarh range officer R.K. Swain said.
“Our squad had gone to the forest to assertain his presence,” Swain added.
On Friday night, another tusker had entered the Panchara village in Sundargarh district, creating panic among the villagers. It damaged several houses. In one of the instances, the animal raided the kitchen of the Kulasar primary school in the village and gorged on the rice and other food items.
Of late, Odisha has witnessed a rise in man-animal conflict, as the jumbos raid nearby villages for food. Shrinking of habitat due to reckless development has endangered these protected animals.