ROURKELA: With a surge in elephant depredation incidents, human casualties have increased in Bonai Forest Division (BFD) of Sundargarh district and its bordering Rourkela Forest Division though Sundargarh Forest Division (SFD) has reported less cases in past seven months.
Bonai Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sanath Kumar informed that one Hemant Mundari (30) was killed by an elephant inside a forest of Kuliposh range on Wednesday while trying to drive away an elephant herd. The same day, a youth was also critically injured by an elephant at Ramchhinda village of Jarda range under BFD while he was going to forest to attend nature’s call.
Kumar informed BFD shares borders with Saranda forests of Jharkhand besides forests of Keonjhar, Deogarh and Rourkela forest divisions. Till Thursday morning , 88 elephants were present in six ranges of the BFD. Koida and Kuliposh forest ranges are reporting most cases of elephant depredation even when adequate measures are being taken to keep the herds away from villages and also protect human lives and property.
Although, the BFD authorities have started sending mobile messages about presence of elephants to registered mobile numbers of villagers of the affected forest ranges, the strategy does not seem to be yielding much impact.
Forest authorities said the elephant herds are moving through forest routes criss-crossing village areas in search of food. Those separated from herds are most dangerous as they move unpredictably.