A herd of tuskers from Chandil in Seraikela-Kharsawan district created panic among villagers by destroying their huts at Chaliyama village inside Dalma wildlife sanctuary on Tuesday. The Dalma elephants had caught the annual migratory route to Bengal in August-September last year and are expected to return in the first week of February. Rampaging herds of tuskers in the villages are forcing innocent tribal to spend sleepless nights.
In an area that boasts of a forest cover of 30 per cent, the human-animal conflict is major concern for the people. In past one week, cases of elephant’s regularly damaging standing crops have shot up. “I am in a state of shock.
I had planted paddy on a patch of four acre of land and was expecting to harvest a good crop, but a herd of elephants spoiled everything. The herd has not only stomached the young plants, but also trampled the entire field,” said a resident of the village. Range officer of Dalma wildlife sanctuary, Mangal Kachhap, said elephants from Chandil entered into the sanctuary on Tuesday afternoon and destroyed huts at Chaliyama village located deep into the sanctuary.
According to him, they were trying to drive away the elephants towards areas not very frequented by Dalma’s resident elephants. “We tried to drive them away to areas adjoining Chandil. But the elephants are adamant to move,” Kachhap noted.
The 192 sq km sanctuary comes under both East Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan district. Dalma authorities have to tackle the situation at the earliest, for there are about 22 resident elephants presently anchored inside the sanctuary. Notably, Dalma is the best elephant habitat of Jharkhand, where the pachyderms love to spend their summer.
Dalma used to be pleasing with temperatures less than 30 degrees Celsius. But due to rising mercury over the years, the elephants started migration to green pastures. The measures taken by the forest department include availability of adequate water holes, salt licks and sufficient food for the tuskers.
But these are not enough for all the elephants residing in the area.