Baripada, Jan 13: Both political and non-political organizations and activists in Mayurbhanj district are up in arms over the apathy of the forest department. They have voiced concerns over the forest department’s continued delay in the relocation of two trained elephants named Mahendra and Rajkumar from Satkosia forest in Anugul district.
The issue is being prominently raised at various levels. Bhanja Sena, a Mayurbhanj-based socio-cultural organization recently staged protests in front of the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) office.
On the other hand, Baripada MLA Prakash Soren, Udala MLA Bhaskar Modei, Zilla Parishad President Sujata Murmu, Sarashkana MLA Budhan Murmu, Rairangpur MLA Nabakishore Majhi BJP district unit president Kandra Soren, BJP district Ex-President Krushna Mohapatra and some BJP supporters recently met Jagyandatta Pati, Deputy Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve and gave a memorandum to Additional Secretary Forest and Environment, Government of Odisha, seeking the urgent return of the two trained elephants to Mayurbhanj.
The political organizations alleged that both the elephants were taken from Mayurbhanj amid protests by the locals to Satkosia forest for monitoring the movement of tigress Sundari which was released in the wild.
The political outfits pointed out that the tigress was in captivity presently, and that the presence of the trained elephants wasn’t required their at all.
The trained elephants were protecting properties and loss of lives in many villages of Mayurbhanj and were not allowing the marauding elephants coming from the neighbouring states of Jharkhand and West Bengal as well as Similipal forest.
It may be noted that a man was trampled to death and large-scale damage to paddy and properties worth lakhs of rupees has taken place because of the marauding elephants and the absence of the trained elephants which were instrumental in driving out the elephants from the neighbouring states.
According to local people, a herd of 22 elephants from Dalma forest in Jharkhand crossed over in Mayurbhanj creating mayhem and killing people and destroying property worth several lakhs.
The forest officials have provided compensation to the victims, which though is inadequate. Similar incidents have also been reported from Baripada territorial forest division.
The political organizations said that such a situation could have been averted and controlled if the two trained elephants were relocated in Mayurbhanj during these vulnerable times.
The two trained elephants have a major role to play in controlling illegal wildlife hunting by poachers and local forest dwellers.
Moreover, the role of these trained elephants is crucial in safeguarding the forest from immense loss to flora, fauna and human life.
Their continued absence, therefore, is a cause of big concern for the people of Mayurbhanj district.
Jagyandatta Pati, Deputy Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve, has assured that he would apprise the higher authorities about the importance and urgency of the relocation of two trained elephants to Mayurbhanj.