A wild elephant, moving with its herd gave birth to a calf in Bankura’s Sonamukhi on Friday evening.
The birth prompted the forest department to halt the process of driving away the herd from an area close to human habitation and towards the state of Jharkhand.
The forest department has posted around a dozen volunteers to ensure that the mother and newborn are undisturbed.
“A wild elephant gave birth to a calf on Friday evening. We have alerted the residents of villages nearby not to disturb the animals now. Our guards are keeping watch from a distance,” said Kalyan Rai, divisional forest officer (north) in Bankura.
Officials said they will wait till the baby elephant becomes capable of walking with the herd. The herd of wild elephants entered Bhulapathra forest of Bankura’s Sonamukhi from Dalma forest of Jharkhand a few days back.
“We were driving the herd towards Jharkhand when we discovered that one of the female elephants gave birth to the newborn. As we know the herd may be violent, we stopped driving the herd away,” said a forest official.
“We are yet to know whether the cub is male or female as we are keeping watch on the jumbos from a safe distance,” he added.
Foresters said they had alerted villagers not to enter the forest to collect dry leaves and branches of trees. The volunteers have been deployed at the head of roads leading into the forest.
Sukumar Roy, a volunteer and resident of a village near the forest, said: “There are many villages in the area and people use the forest to cut down on time. Since Friday night we are guarding stretches that people use to get into the forest. We are keeping a cautious watch on the cub and both the mother and newborn seem to be doing well.”