A tusker that sneaked in from Jharkhand has been spreading panic in Nilagiri damaging houses in over 10 villages.
Sources said a herd of 120 elephants had left Dalma sanctuary in the neighbouring State in the second week of February and one of them has come to Kuldiha sanctuary here. It has been wreaking havoc by damaging paddy and vegetable crops besides houses. The elephant has already killed three persons in the area and damaged houses of another three persons. Forest ranger Shankarshan Mahalik said the tusker might have returned for mating and could stay here for a few more days before leaving Kuldiha. With the Forest personnel on strike for the last one week, the department has engaged forest protection assistants on daily wage basis to drive the animal away from the area.
The herd had sneaked into the district from Jharkhand in December last year and destroyed houses of 162 families in Nilagiri sub-division, besides paddy and vegetable crops.