| Towards a safer passage
Balasore, Sept. 7: Forest officials of Mayurbhanj district will develop corridors to ensure safe passage for elephants.
The district forest department has identified three corridors, which are expected to help bring down incidents of elephants straying into human habitations, for development and started working on them. The first two corridors will fall within Rairangpur and Karanjia forest territorial divisions.
One corridor will stretch from Karida to Badampahad, while the other will link Badampahad with Dhobdabin. Sources said these corridors would ensure the safe passage of migratory elephants entering the state from Jharkhand.
Another corridor will be developed connecting Deuli, Rasgobindapur, Betnoti and Kuldiha in Mayurbhanj, especially keeping in mind the jumbos, which migrate to Bengal. Another corridor, connecting the reserve forest of Keonjhar, Hathgarh, Kuldiha and Similipal, was also under development.
Every year in November, elephant herds enter Mayurbhanj from Bengal and Jharkhand in search of food. They stay in the district for about two months. During this period, they also make foray into areas at Nilgiri block of Balasore, said regional chief conservator of forests Anup Nayak.
Stating that these elephants caused extensive damage to property and crops, Nayak said the corridors would help reduce elephant menace. The corridors will have enough fodder and water bodies to prevent the jumbos from straying.
The forest department has adopted a two-pronged approach to tackle the problem of elephants migration. While corridors are being created to ensure their problem-free movement, solar fencing will be done and trenches will be dug around wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests to keep the pachyderms away from the peripheral villages.
Divisional forest officer of Baripada Sanjay Swain said: Trench digging and erection of solar fencing have been over in areas near Bengal border.
At certain places, the corridors cross the national highways. Therefore, appropriate modalities must be adopted to check the speed of vehicles at these places, said Bhanoomitra Acharya, wildlife warden of Mayurbhanj.