Keonjhar, August 22 (LocalWire): An adult female elephant and its calf were killed and another female elephant was seriously injured on Thursday morning when a speeding iron-ore laden truck hit a herd crossing the National Highway number 20, near Balijhar village under Ghatagaon forest range in the mineral-rich Keonjhar district.
The mishap took place at around 3 am when a herd of 10 elephants was trying to cross the busy highway.
“The female elephant and the calf were crushed under the speeding truck and died on the spot,” Keonjhar Forest Division forest officer Santosh Kumar Joshi informed, adding that the veterinary surgeons were trying to save the injured female adult elephant.
“The mishap site is the movement corridor of wild elephants and they usually cross the highway during late afternoon hours. The herd’s movement was earlier tracked by the Global Positioning System (GPS),” he said.
Joshi also informed that a departmental inquiry has been initiated into the tragic death of the elephants.
Keonjhar is home to 40 elephants as per the last conducted animal census. Besides, elephants from Jharkhand often enter the Keonjhar forest region through this corridor. The animals usually stray in from Similpal tiger reserve in Mayurbhanj district and Jharkhand state.
According to the forest department officials, as many as 149 elephants are currently ensconced in the forest.
“We have taken precautionary measures to alert people through our network of elephant squad forest staffs to check man-elephant confrontation. The squads also keep a close eye on the movement of these animals near railway tracks,” the officer said.
While skilled service group of elephant chasers keeps a watch on these animals, the GPS tracking teams are used to spot the movement of these elephants, he stated.