Cuttack, Jan. 24: Residents of Choudwar in Odisha today heaved a sigh of relief after the herd of wild elephants that had entered the high-security zone of the Aviation Research Centre at Charbatia were driven back to the forest area.
This came after a massive operation was launched by the officials of the forest department to drive back the herd safely into the woods last night. “The herd is now in the Gahandia forest near Mangarajpur,” said Cuttack divisional forest officer Sudarshan Behera.
Behera said there was every possibility of the herd moving into Daligada reserve forest range and now there was no threat to the human population at Choudwar.
The herd, which had broken a portion of the centre’s boundary wall, did not damage houses or crops in Choudwar. “The movement of the herd is being closely monitored by officials,” he said.
Sources said, earlier, public announcements were made to ensure that villagers did not irritate the wild herd of elephants, which includes six females and a wild tusker. They had entered the human settlement from Chandaka forest via Athgarh. Later, the herd managed to enter the aviation research campus after breaking its boundary wall.
As the elephants usually move at night, the forest officials had planned to carry out the operation to drive back the herd last evening.