Bhubaneswar, July 23 (LocalWire): If humans like ripe Jackfruits, so do the elephants; no wonder then that drawn by the aroma of ripe Jackfruits the tuskers strayed into the forest-side villages in Keonjhar district.
Unfortunately, the straying pachyderms have not just ravaged the cropland and damaged houses, they also trampled three villagers killing them and that is what has sent the villagers and the local administration into a tizzy.
The administration in the mineral-rich Keonjhar district is contending with the elephantine crisis of sorts with the wild elephants showing no signs of leaving.
Meanwhile Odisha forest department has sounded an alert in elephant depredation areas asking the people to remain indoors during night hours.
“Stay extra cautious while making outdoor movement,” an advisory issued by Keonjhar forest division said.
The tuskers have strayed into villages in Sadar, Champua and Bhuian Juanga Peedha and Ghatagaon forest ranges under Keonjhar forest division.
According to available reports, the elephants got separated from the herd and strode into villages, drawn by the Jackfruits and male elephants from the group gored to death three persons they encountered and injured another in the past one week.
“It has become quite a task on our part to push these animals away into their habitation corridors,” Divisional Forest Officer Santosh Joshi said, adding that it seems the animals left their habitation corridor of Similipal tiger reserve and traversed through over 100 kilometers of hilly terrains and dense forest to stray into the reserve forest in Keonjhar district.
“They intruded into the reserve forest about ten days back.
However the elephants have prolonged their stay in villages because of the attraction of Jackfruits,”he said.
Currently 150 elephants are wandering around Keonjhar forest division, while it is home to 56 elephants as per the latest census.
More than 100 skilled service group of elephant chasers is keeping round the clock watch on tuskers, while the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking teams have spotted the movement of these elephants close to human habitation areas.
The animals are being driven back to the forest by a group of skilled forest personnel who are expert on elephant chasing.
“The tuskers have not turned rogue as they have strayed for food.
So there is no need to tame them using tranquilizing technique,” the officer stated.