Return of Jumbos Keeps Forest Officials on Toes (Rourkela, India)


New Indian Express

Date Published

Forest officials are on their toes following the return of a herd of eight elephants near plant area of IDL Explosive Limited on the southern outskirts of Rourkela.  

Sources said after causing minor damage to the office of IDL, the elephants were holed up in the adjacent forest of Sonaparvat hill. Elephant squads have been deployed in the area to drive away the herd to dense forest.

Chief Security Officer of IDL SK Dutta said the herd has been frequenting the locality for the last few days. On Monday night, they broke the wooden gate of the production office located outside the plant’s boundary. An adolescent elephant entered the office and broke two chairs and dislocated documents, but no major damage was done.

In April last year, the herd had caused substantial damage to the production office, he added.

Sources said after straying from Jharkhand forest in September 2010, the herd, then with 11 elephants, had settled at Kacharu of Kuanrmunda range under Rourkela forest division. During the last four years, the herd has been frequently venturing into human habitations in all six ranges of the forest division. It had also twice entered the City in 2013 and 2014.

Forest officials said the herd is responsible for at least nine human casualties in the last five years. Similarly, in the last two years, at least a dozen of times the herd was driven away to adjacent forests or Saranda in Jharkhand. But they return after a gap of eight to 10 days.

Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) J K Mohanty said the drive has been started from Tuesday evening. The 18 km-solar fencing from Pradhanpali to Tumkela along river Keol has successfully prevented the herd’s entry to north-west outskirts of the City. But securing another 60 to 70 km to shield other entry points to the City remains a difficult task in the absence of compact patches and adequate fund. However, movements of the elephants are under continuous surveillance, he added.

2 Suspended for Tusker’s Death

Deogarh: A day after the decomposed carcass of a tusker was found at Kalapat Forest near Chirgunikudar village under Reamal Forest Range of the district, two forest officials were suspended for dereliction of duty. Nuadihi Forester Nishamani Behera and forest guard Baneswar Parida of Deogarh Forest Division were suspended, said Divisional Forest Officer B B Biswasi. As no bullet injuries were found in the carcass, the cause of death can be ascertained only after receiving the autopsy report. The autopsy on the elephant was conducted on Tuesday. The body was spotted by some locals who informed the forest officials after the carcass began emitting foul smell. It could be a case of poaching as the tusk of the elephant is missing. However, the forest officials are yet to confirm anything.