BARGARH:The intense heat and dry water bodies in Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary besides forest fire have forced a herd of elephants out of the safe confines of the sanctuary.
Debrigarh sanctuary is situated on the periphery of Hirakud Dam Reservoir and is spread from Sambalpur to Bargarh district but lack of water and food has forced the herd of 16 elephants to stray out of their habitat in their quest for water. The herd has crossed over from the sanctuary area to Gobindapur under Bhatli Forest Range. It is learnt that a calf has got separated from the group. However, the good news is, the Forest department is guarding the calf at Tamdei and attempts are being made to reunite it with the herd.
The natural factors have, meanwhile, exposed the wildlife to poachers. Reports of poachers and hunters spreading their nets in water stressed areas of the sanctuary to trap wildlife have also been received.
Divisional Forest Officer, Bargarh, Mihir Kumar Biswal said patrolling in the sanctuary has been strengthened to prevent any attempt of poaching. Steps have been taken to keep a vigil on poachers and wildlife besides make arrangements for drinking water and fodder.