Stroll time: The tusker passes by a house in Gari Hotwar, near the mega sports complex in Ranchi, on Sunday afternoon. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi had an unusual visitor on Sunday.
A tusker — with a military bent of mind — strayed from its herd and camped at Dipatoli cantonment in the heart of the capital for the better half of the day before an army of jawans, forest officials and villagers managed to do the elephantine task of driving it back to the forest.
The “very gentle” giant was first spotted as early as 6am, inspecting the southern boundary of the cantonment.
“No one knows where it came from. Some jawans saw the elephant standing in an open field and informed their seniors,” said a Dipatoli officer, requesting anonymity.
As the word spread, a sea of people descended to catch a glimpse of the “hathi”, who, however, remained blissfully unfazed by all the human antics around him and refused to budge from his seat of power.
When an army failed to combat jumbo sloth, cantonment authorities informed Ranchi district forest officer Y.K. Das. The latter rushed with his team around 10.30am.
But, all that the experts managed to do is send the tusker to a secluded and shaded place on the military campus.
Residents of Sarnatoli, an adjoining neighbourhood, said the animal settled for a marathon afternoon siesta and got on its feet around 3.30pm.
Irritated by the concerted efforts of jawans and forest officials to drive him away, he finally stomped out of the military premises — and made sure he threw his weight on the fragile barbed wire fence during the ceremonious exit.
Bored, he took a stroll near the mega sports complex in Hotwar, peeked into homes here and there and was perhaps mulling his next move when villagers from Gari Hotwar lit torches as a final weapon to send home the uninvited guest.
“As villagers shouted and lit their torches, the tusker became a little agitated. However, he did no harm. All of us waited for sundown,” Das said, adding that the animal might have got separated from its herd in Bundu and found its way to the city.
Finally, around 5.30pm, the tusker decided to call it a day.
It walked fast towards Horhap forest, crossing villages like Arrah and Badam in Namkum block of Ranchi.
Horhap is connected to the forests of Bundu and foresters hope that the animal will be reunited with its herd.
Sources said the last time the capital had witnessed a jumbo intruder was in 2004.
A tusker had strayed away from its herd and entered the Bargaen area of the city near Bariatu. The animal was as sober as its Sunday successor and had caused no harm to life and property.
Have you ever seen a wild tusker near your city home?