Tuskers knock at Chhattisgarh’s Barnawapara (India)


By Rashmi Drolia, Times of India

Date Published

RAIPUR: Barnawapara wildlife sanctuary is echoing with the trumpets of its new guests in the core zones for last two weeks. Forest department officials said that this is the first time that 30 elephants were seen in sanctuary, which may be an indication of permanent migration.

It may be considered as a welcoming knock at the sanctuary. Herds of tuskers were spotted in different areas which have possibly migrated from neighbouring Odisha to Barnawapara, about 100km from Raipur. Talking to TOI, Barnawapara Sanctuary’s superintendent Arun Tiwari said that he spotted a herd of 12 elephants at compartment number 204 of sanctuary’s core zone area.

“Two tuskers were last seen here in 2010. They didn’t stay for more than 2-3 days. But this large herd’s stay here is the longest. These giants visit places where food and water is in abundance, do a survey if the climate and habitat suit them and in few years return in herds to settle,” Tiwari said.

He said that it was fortunate that the herd isn’t going towards villages or it would have been a problem for locals. “Forest guards are keeping a watch on elephant movement. They are also creating awareness among people to keep the area a least disturbance place for them. Wild tuskers are generally shy of humans and they rush when they come across a human or vehicle. Apart from few villagers and forest guards, not many have seen them as they have water from the drain and not lakes in open. A trail of pugmarks on sand indicates the presence of few male tuskers in the herd,” Tiwari said.

President of Chhattisgarh wildlife society, Arun Kumar Bharos told TOI, “Patches of Odisha has nearly 1,000 elephants and any political border is no border for them. Extreme deforestation, mining and explosions add to the disturbing factors for tuskers’ habitat and they migrate to other places. If they have chosen Chhattisgarh, it is good news for wildlife in state.”

As far as their safety is concerned Bharos said that the new guests could turn into residents if they find the area suitable with abundance of their favourite mahua fruit, bamboo and many climbers, “Minimum we can do is not disturb them,” he said.

Permanent migration of tuskers may also lead to a boom in tourism at Barnawapara which is commonly visited for wide variety of faunal species, black buck, flying squirrels, python, sloth bear, cheetals, leopards and hyenas.

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