Elephant herd keeps forest officials on toes (Raipur District, India)


Pawan Sahu, The Hitavada

Date Published

See link for photo.

RAIPUR: Forest officials remained on pins and needles as what would be next move of the herd of elephants which was roaming in the farmlands close to populated areas at Arang on Saturday

Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Raipur Forest Division Arun Pandey told The Hitavada that it’s the same native herd of Barnawapara sanctuary which had come close to the Capital city in October, 2017.

Around 40 Forest Department personnel and 20 police personnel are tracking the herd. Also, the Forest personnel are carrying out announcement in villages from where the herd is passing by. 

Pandey assured that there is no chance of any conflict between the elephants and villagers as police is using barricades to keep them away. Later in the evening, CCF Pandey updated that herd was hanging out at Golhan Nullah, at around 35 kilometres from the Capital. Total 50 forest personnel divided into 8 teams were keeping strict round the clock watch on them.

The personnel will continue chasing the herd away from populous area all night through the route of Farfond-Akoli-Samoda-Sirpur and finally into Barnawapara Sanctuary with torches (Mashaal) and high-powered flickering lights. The elephants won’t be allowed to move any closer to villages or towns. 

The herd was roaming all day in Jaam Bari of the village. According to reports, village Nara Sarpanch Dhruv Chandrakar immediately intimated the police and ran an announcement in the village to warn the villagers. Herd was just 2 to 3 kilometres from village Godhi in afternoon.

Elephants also caused for fear and damage to the crops as one farmer Ramesh Kumar was petrified at the sight of wild elephants which were already hanging out at his farm as he reached there on Saturday morning. 

There were at least 4 adult elephants and 4 calves in the Guava farm. 
Although, most of the paddy has been taken off the fields by now, elephants did caused damage to the crop at village Sandi. A man named Santosh Dhiver was injured when he fell while being chased by an elephant. Santosh was trying to click a picture when the incident happened. He was admitted in Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Hospital. Elephants also uprooted over 2 dozen trees of guava in the farm of Ramesh Kumar Dhiver.

The main concern for the Forest official was that Raipur-Arang Highway is just 5 to 6 kilometres from the place where elephants had taken halt on late Saturday evening. They have to prevent the pachyderms from heading any closer to the busy road. If elephants cross the road by walking along the Kolhan Nullah, it would trigger fear among villagers. 

Presence of elephants reduced the traffic on Nara-Kukra road. There was also a report given by a reliable source that there was no police to stop people from moving close to the elephants at village Nara in the evening.

Resultantly, the alpha member of the herd was chasing away the people who attempted to go close to them. The source also confirmed that forest personnel had prepared with firecrackers and chilli bombs to scare away the herd from heading any further down the direction of Capital city.