Bhubaneswar, August 3 (LocalWire): A herd of 22 wild elephants headed by five Tuskers from Jayant reserve forest area of Jharkhand has strayed in a cluster of three forest-side villages in Mayurbhanj district, triggering a reign of terror in the region.
The jumbos crossed Karanjia forest range and strayed into Mendhamundi, Dhipasahi, Jhumulapala villages in Raruan block yesterday morning and are showing no signs of leaving the village habitat, forest officials said.
The straying of elephants from Jharkhand is a recurring feature here and the forest-side villages close to Similipal national parks in Mayurbhanj district are often frequented by them.
Experts point out that it’s the natural behavioural instincts of elephants to stride long distance in search of food.
Elephants from the forest in Jharkhand stray into Odisha as the dense forest cover in Mayurbhanj have better fruit-bearing trees like mangoes and jackfruits, besides standing crops and luxuriant vegetable cultivation in the village areas.
The elephant habitat in Jharkhand has shrunk following deforestation.
Apart from Mayurbhanj, elephants from Jharkhand also stray into forest areas in Keonjhar and Balasore district.
“The elephant herd has so far not caused any loss of human life.
However, it has damaged around a dozen houses and ravaged a granary.
They have trampled an auto-rickshaw that came in their way,” officials informed.
The effort is on to drive them away from the area and a skilled service group of elephant chasers is keeping round the clock watch on these animals.
According to an official, the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking team has already spotted the movement of these elephants and the villagers have been advised not to venture into elephant-infested forest areas.
Villagers have also been told to stay alert on the possible intrusion of animals and promptly disseminate it to forest personnel.
“It’s a sleepless night for people living in the three villages.
The male members of the villages are maintaining vigil round-the-clock.
The government needs to initiate permanent measures to curb the recurring elephant menace,” local Sarpanch Jeetendra Naik said.