No Respite from Elephant Attack
By Express News Service | Published: 13th January 2014 11:39 AM |
Elephants continue to give sleepless nights to people residing in and near three forest divisions of Sundargarh district.
The animals continue to sneak into human habitations and retaliate when being chased away. The traditional methods of driving away the pachyderms have failed to be effective.
Forest officials said elephants are getting habituated to the tricks and do not respond to bursting of crackers or shrill noises made by elephant squads. Short-distance elephant trenches are also not helpful as the animals are finding alternative routes.
Sundargarh DFO Arjun Behera claimed that as the paddy harvesting season is coming to an end, three elephant herds have returned to forest. Yet, two tuskers have stayed put in Rauldega and Jamtalia sections of Sundargarh range. They have been raiding the villages, feasting on crops and damaging houses on a regular basis.
Rourkela DFO Sanjeet Kumar said two herds comprising 12 and 17 elephants are refusing to budge and continue to raid the villages under Kuanrmunda, Bisra and Birmitrapur forest ranges. He said regular drives are underway to keep the animals at a safe distance and prevent human casualties.
Yet, two elephants of the two herds on separate occasions charged back to kill two persons in Nuagaon block three days back. Lahunipara and Koida blocks of Bonai forest division which share vast forest border with Saranda in Jharkhand besides Keonjhar and Deogarh districts are also bearing the brunt of elephant raids.
Bonai DFO Santosh Banchhor said the elephants have developed a strong liking for paddy and vegetable crops along with ‘handia’, a local brew. Normally, elephants return to the villages and change places while raiding during this time of the year. A Nuagaon villager Samuel Jojo said villagers are living in fear and even food grains stored by them for future are not secured. Last year, the district had reported 13 human casualties in elephant attacks.