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Dalma jumbos start heading home
- Seven elephants reach sanctuary, more to follow

Jamshedpur, Feb 15: After spending the past six months in Bengal jungles, elephant herds have finally started ambling back to Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary.

Seven jumbos, including two calves, made their way into the reserve via Jamdih, Lailam, Bota and Pagda late on Friday night. They were spotted today near Ghusi Jharna, deep inside the sanctuary.

Some among 156-odd Dalma elephants are on their way to the sanctuary and are expected to be home in a fortnight.

In view of the jumbo movement, authorities have beefed up night patrol inside the 192sqkm sanctuary and directed trackers — villagers employed to keep tab on movement of elephants and other animals — to remain alert.

Dalma range officer (in-charge) Mangal Kashyap said there was plenty of water and fodder in the sanctuary for the returning jumbos. “The 90-odd water holes and 12 check dams are overflowing. We have taken measures to ensure safety of labourers and villagers,” he added.

Kutcha roads, which were damaged during monsoon, have been repaired, while bushes on elephant corridor have been trimmed.

Stretches at Bataluka, Chimti and Bota had developed craters, some of them 3-4ft deep. The potholes have been filled with clay to make the roads motorable.

“We have decked up roads and trimmed bushes. Now, our patrol parties can reach villagers swiftly during an elephant attack,” said Bhadodih forester Dinesh Kumar.

Dalma range office has also distributed crackers to villages in the sanctuary.

Over 150 elephants had left for jungles in West Midnapore and Bankura districts of Bengal in August-September.

Forester Kumar confirmed that the jumbos normally start returning after the end of harvest season in Bengal.

They follow two corridors — one from Jhunjka and the other from Burudih. The first one leads to Nutandih while the second passes through Narsingpur in Ghatshila range, Suklara and Aamdapahari.

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