A herd of six elephants that were stranded in a tea plantation in the western Dooars on Sunday morning drew hundreds of onlookers, including tourists, who reached the spot from adjoining areas.
Sources said a herd of nine elephants had come out of the Gorumara National Park on Saturday night and was heading towards Apalchand forest through Teshimla panchayat of Malbazar block in Jalpaiguri district.
On their way, the dawn broke and three elephants returned to Gorumara. The other six were, however, stuck in a tea plantation at Kalikholabusy of Teshimla.
Residents who came out of homes for daily chores spotted the elephants. “We were surprised to see the herd standing in the plantation. Elephants move through our area but it is rare to see them in broad daylight,” local resident Manjit Oraon said.
Hundreds of people from neighbouring areas like Malbazar, Lataguri, Chalsa and Dhupjhora started reaching the village to see the animals. A number of tourists, who were visiting the region, also went to Kalikholabusty to see the elephants.
Malbazar police and wildlife squad reached the village.
“There are six elephants — tuskers, maknas (males without tusks) and calves which number two each. We are monitoring their movement and preventing onlookers from moving close to the herd. Our men will start driving the elephants towards the forest in the evening,” said Dipen Subba, range officer of the squad.