Rampaging jumbo herd driven away to Chandil
A herd of three elephants, which was destroying houses and eating up food stock at Ichagarh in the adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan district, has been driven to a secluded place in Chandil, around 25km from here, on Friday night.
Instead of driving the elephants back to Purulia district in Bengal, which is close to Ichagarh block, the forest department officials drove them away to Chandil forest range.
This was done to ensure that the villagers, who were forming groups and staying together for fear of the jumbos, don’t flout the social-distancing norms.
Chandil range officer Ashok Kumar said they had pressed a 15-member team into service to drive the elephants away from human habitat.
“The team had been trying to drive the herd from Ichagarh block towards Purulia district, but it continued to remain anchored in Ichagarh. As the elephants were reluctant to return to Purulia, we decided to drive them away to a stretch of forest located behind Jaida temple along the Subernarekha river under Chandil forest range,” Kumar said.
He said the team and the forest protection volunteers were keeping a watch on the movement of the herd.
“We have instructed them to not allow the herd to move away from the forest cover where it is anchored now. When the menace of coronavirus subsides, we will drive the herd back to its natural habitat in Bengal,” the range officer said.
According to forest department sources, the herd has damaged a dozen houses and destroyed paddy stock in Ichagarh block during the past one week.
Sources said the villagers who suffered losses in the Ichagarh block, which falls under Chandil forest range, have started approaching the forest department for compensation.