Keonjhar: Wild elephants from Jharkhand and Similipal tiger reserve have yet again sneaked into forested areas of Keonjhar district, sparking off fresh bouts of man-elephant conflict.
At least four persons were injured in Champua and Bhuian Juanga Peedha (BJP) forest range areas following attack by the animals. The long-ranging animals have also caused extensive damages to croplands stretching across about 125 acres in forest-side villages of the forest range jurisdiction since past one week.
The BJP forest range that falls under Banspal block administration jurisdiction has currently literally come under elephants’ invasion. 39 wild elephants from Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj district have strayed into forest areas here. The elephants have so far damaged croplands in several village areas. However no report of man-elephant confrontation has been reported so far. Skilled forest personnel of elephants’ squads have stepped up vigil and are on the job to chase away the elephants back to their original habitat, said Forest Range Officer, BJP forest range, Muktikant Parida.
Keonjhar is home to 40 elephants as per the last conducted census of these animals. The migration of elephants from Jharkhand to Keonjhar forest has become a recurring feature. It’s the migration path of these animals. Currently as many as 149 elephants are firmly ensconced in the forest. The animals have strayed here from Similpal tiger reserve in Mayurbhanj district and Jharkhand State. It’s not humanly possible to the acts of straying of wild elephants. We are adopting precautionary methods in alerting the people through our network of elephant squad forest staffs to check man-elephant confrontation. Besides the squads are keeping close watch of these animals’ movement near the railway tracks, said forest officials.
Elephants are migrating to neighbouring Champua and BJP ranges in search of food and water. Dense forest cover enriched with fruit bearing trees like mangoes and jackfruits attract them venture into jungle. The dense forest is attracting the elephants from Jharkhand and Similipal, paving the way for the frequent man-elephant conflict in Keonjhar district, officials added.
The skilled service group of elephant chasers are also keeping watch on these animals. The Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking teams use to spot the movement of these elephants. The forest department has warned the villagers not to venture into elephant-infested forest areas. They have been told to stay alert on possible intrusion of animals and promptly disseminate it to forest personnel, said Forest Range Officer, Champua Forest of Range, Ghanashyam Barik.