The 13-member herd of elephants, which came within a range of 2km from NH-33 on Thursday, kept Hazaribagh and Ramgarh foresters on toes till 6.30pm till it was steered to Churchu forest.
Foresters had to bear in mind the safety of some 40,000 vehicles as well as 13 elephants Elephas maximus indicus is an endangered species as the herd reached Charhi, some 22km from Hazaribagh but perilously close to the Ranchi-Patna Highway (NH-33).
The spot, Chanaro village, is in Hazaribagh but falls under Ramgarh forest division.
The NH-33 stretch near Charhi is safe now, range officer (Ramgarh circle) forest department Diwakar Singh told The Telegraph late evening.
A team of 10 forest department employees, assisted by 25 villagers, tailed the herd. Around 6pm today (Thursday), we managed to steer it towards Churchu forest and now it will enter Jhumra Pahaad in Bokaro soon, added Diwakar, who is leading the team.
It was a long day but worth the effort, he added.
Divisional forest officer (Ramgarh division) Ashok Kumar Singh said as Chanaro was close to Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) mines, he had instructed officials of the coal major to stop heavy blasting.
He added he had asked police officers in Charhi to ensure elephants did not get run over on the highway.
DFO (east) Ajit Singh said the herd crossed his jurisdiction area but he would depute his men at Hatyari More in Charhi at night to keep tabs.
Before leaving Chanaro, elephants razed the home of brothers Gango and Gopi Mahto. Gango said it was a classic instance of the fabled elephantine memory. Our mother Sagwa Devi had hit an elephant with a burning torch in 1972. The same night, elephants killed our parents Sagwa and Aghan Mahto. This attack, 41 years later, shows they are still angry, he said.