BHUBANESWAR: Visitors’ entry into Nandankanan zoo was restricted for a day after two wild elephants strayed into the zoological park by breaking the fences near Daruthenga early on Wednesday. The elephants that entered the zoo premises at around 4 am caused minor damage to the plantation area, fodder farm, and sprinklers in the morning. However, no damage has been caused to any enclosure, said Nandankanan deputy director Sanjeet Kumar.
After entering into the visitors’ area and causing minor damage to plants, the elephants moved into a small patch of forest close to the tiger enclosure of the zoo. Later in the evening, the elephants were seen hiding in the sanctuary area of the zoological park. A team with the help of forest staff from Chandaka Wildlife Division has been engaged to drive away the elephants from there.
The deputy director said the mission to drive away the two elephants during the daytime was deliberately put on hold to prevent risk of damage to any enclosure or attack on any individual. “As the elephants have moved out to the sanctuary area, we have decided to wait for some more time in the night as we expect they will go back on their own,” Kumar said and added that darting would be the last option if the elephants continue to stay.
An official said the elephants entered the zoo by trampling the fences that had been installed temporarily for restoration of the boundary wall, damaged by a wild elephant earlier. Meanwhile, uncertainty continues regarding the reopening of the zoo on Thursday as officials said they may not allow visitors inside until the elephants move back to the forest.