Monday, 30th October 2017

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Foresters upbeat on elephants count

At present, there are 130 elephants in the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary

By Jayesh Thaker in Jamshedpur
  • Published 4.02.20, 12:36 AM
  • Updated 4.02.20, 12:36 AM
  • a min read
File picture of elephant calves inside Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Dalma foresters are hopeful that the animal census at the sprawling sanctuary in May will show an increase in elephant population.

The three-day census, which is based on field surveys and actual sightings near waterholes, is usually conducted after Bishu Shikar or the annual tribal hunting festival.

Foresters are confident about an increase in the number of jumbos because eight calves have been sighted at the 192sqkm sanctuary. Three calves were spotted at Jamdih and Jhunjka jungles near Patamda in East Singhbhum in December. The calves, all less than a year old, were part of two separate herds. Five more jumbo babies were later sighted at the same jungles. All the calves were around six months old when they were spotted.

Foresters expect more elephants, who are still in the jungles of West Midnapore and Bankura in neighbouring Bengal, to be pregnant. “If this turns out to be true, it will further add to the numbers,” one of the foresters said. At present, there are 130 jumbos in the sanctuary. The elephants had migrated to Bengal in August-September last year and are expected to amble back home once the winter ends.

Some of the jumbos are already back inside the sanctuary. Assistant conservator of forest R.P. Singh said animal census would be conducted after the annual hunt festival.

“We will conduct it once the tribals announce the dates of their festival,” he added.

Most of the elephants are currently stationed on the foothills. The foresters have launched night patrol to drive away elephants from near human habitats. Dalma range officer (west) Dinesh Chandra said: “A dozen elephants have gone uphill, but most are still anchored on the foothills.

“We have launched night patrol and distributed crackers, mashals and kerosene among the villagers. Trackers (village youths recruited to keep a tab on the movement of animals) are also assisting us during patrols.”