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Roads cleared for jumbo return
- Dalma swings into action to avert man-animal conflict

Jamshedpur, Jan. 31: The authorities of Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary have begun preparations to welcome home elephants that are on their way back from West Midnapore and Bankura jungles of neighbouring Bengal.

From mending kuccha roads to trimming overgrown bush, the sanctuary is taking all possible safety measures to ensure a hassle-free return journey for around 140 elephants as well as smooth ride for forest patrol parties to minimise man-animal conflicts.

According to sources, throughout the year, nearly 200 daily wagers remain engaged in various kinds of work in the 192sqkm reserve, which is also dotted with innumerable villages and hamlets.

The elephants, which had left for their annual sojourn to the jungles of Bengal in September last year, will start returning to the sanctuary from February 15.

Dalma range officer (in-charge) Mangal Kacchap said they had repaired roads in all the six beats of the reserve, including Bhadodih, Dalma, Mango, Nutandih, Chakulia and Patamda, and trimmed bush as a safety measure for labourers and villagers.

“Our patrol parties can swiftly reach spots in case of emergency if the roads are in a proper shape. Overgrown bush too poses hurdles for patrol parties,” he added.

“We are working hard to reduce man-animal conflict in our sanctuary. We are directly responsible for the safety of daily wagers and villagers employed by us,” Kacchap, who also happens to be the assistant conservator of forest, Gumla, said.

Bhadodih forester Dinesh Kumar said roads in his beat were in an utter poor shape after the monsoon.

“Stretches at Bataluka, Chimti and Bota had developed craters, some them being 3-4ft deep, after the rains. The potholes have been filled with clay to make the roads motorable,” he added.

The Dalma range office has also distributed crackers among villages spread in the sanctuary. “It’s a precautionary measure from our side. Trackers (village youths employed to keep a tab on movement of elephants and other animals) have also been alerted,” added Kacchap.

Around 140 elephants, including calves, had left for Bengal.

According to foresters, the elephants normally start their journey towards Dalma after the end of the harvest season in Bengal.

“They go to Bengal jungles in August-September and stay there till December. They start returning to Dalma in February when plenty of food and water are available here,” said a forest official.

Also, the animals follow two designated elephant corridors — one from Jhunjka and the other from Burudih. The first one leads to Nutandih, while the second passes through Narsingpur (Ghatshila range), Dalapani, Suklara and Aamdapahari.

Interestingly, both the corridors merge at Mirjadih from where the jumbos cross Haludbani, Bhadodih, Bota and Dimna to reach Dalma.


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