Elephant Herd Strays Into Rourkela Town, Triggers Panic (Bhubaneswar, India)


The Hindu

Date Published

Hundreds of residents in Rourkela had a sleepless night as a herd of
seven elephants ‘camped’ in a city park.

The Forest department began an operation to drive away the jumbos
while a platoon of police was deployed to keep the curious crowd under
control on Thursday evening.

The elephant herd had strayed into Nabakrishna Nagar in Sector 22 of
the Steel City on Wednesday evening.

“The herd usually stays in Sona Parvat reserve forest. However, the
elephant strayed into human habitation on Wednesday evening,” said
Sanjit Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer of Rourkela.

Mr. Kumar pointed out, “after entering the township, the herd could
not find a safe passage to the reserve forest as people kept bursting
firecrackers and lighted the whole area. Police personnel had to be
deployed to prevent people from coming near the wild animals.
Moreover, forest department personnel were deployed to keep a tab on
movement of elephants.”

During the day on Thursday, forest department through public address
system urged people to cooperate and keep safe distance from the herd.

“In the evening, we started our operation using 75 forest personnel.
The herd has started moving towards its habitat,” said the DFO.

Elephant herds straying into Rourkela is not new. Elephants have
entered the township on four to five occasions since 2010.

“We are trying to dig trenches and put up solar fencing to stop them.
Also, two large ponds have been excavated in order to ensure elephants
stay around water source,” said Mr. Kumar.