All elephants back in Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, rooms full till March 20
It’s the best of times and the worst of times to visit Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary.
The good news is that tourists can make full use of their binoculars and cameras now that all the elephants are back home. The bad news is that all accommodation facilities at the sanctuary 30km from Jamshedpur are booked out till March 20.
All the 129 elephants have come back to the 192sqkm sanctuary after their annual sojourn in the jungles of West Midnapore and Bankura in neighbouring Bengal.
“Besides the flora and fauna, visitors to the sanctuary love to watch the elephants. It is the best time to come here,” a forest guard said.
Usually elephants move to the core area of the sanctuary upon their return from Bengal.
“The elephants can be spotted near the watering holes such as Badka Bandh, Chotka Bandh, Nichla Bandh and Bijli Ghati after 4pm. The animals quench their thirst and play with clay, providing ample opportunities to visitors to click pictures,” the forester added.
Tourists can book a forest jeep to watch elephants at their playful best.
Confirming that all the elephants were back from Bengal, Dalma range officer (west) Dinesh Chandra said some of the jumbos had moved uphill while some were still anchored on the foothills.
“Trackers (village youths recruited as daily wage earners to keep a tab the on movement of animals) have been told to be remain alert and report immediately if they spot elephants near human habitat,” he added.
The jumbos had caught the migratory route to Bengal in August-September last year. They generally amble back home in February, but the chill kept them away this year.
Meanwhile, all the accommodations at the sanctuary — be it the plush AC cottages, ordinary rooms at Makulakocha, the nearby mud cottages or the three staff quarters-turned-tourist addresses at Pinderbera — have been booked till March 20.
A forest guesthouse near the main entrance at Makulakocha is also bursting at the seams. “Tourists, mostly from Bengal, have reserved rooms in advance. Some tourists wanted to spend Holi here quietly with their families and decided to extend their stay,” Chandra said.
Water and electricity are no more in short supply, but visitors need to carry rations if they stay at Pinderbera.