Elephant Herd from Jharkhand Cause Alarm in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar

Bhubaneswar: A herd of approximately 27 wild elephants from Jharkhand has strayed into forest-side villages in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts, causing widespread fear and damage over the past four days.

Forest officials report that these elephants, primarily from the Jayant reserve forest in Jharkhand, show no signs of leaving the area.

This annual migration is driven by the elephants’ search for food, as their habitat in Jharkhand has been shrinking due to deforestation. The dense forests of Odisha, rich in fruit-bearing trees like mangoes and jackfruits, as well as standing crops and vegetable cultivation, are a natural draw for these pachyderms.

While no human casualties have been reported, the elephants have caused significant damage to croplands. The herd, led by four adult tuskers, has been spotted wandering in the forest areas. Efforts are underway to drive them back to their natural habitat. Skilled elephant chasers and GPS tracking teams are monitoring the situation round the clock.

Villagers have been advised to avoid the forest areas and remain vigilant for any elephant movements, reporting sightings immediately to forest personnel to prevent man-elephant confrontations. Precautionary measures include alerting people through an extensive network of forest staff and monitoring railway tracks near elephant paths.

According to the recent All Odisha Elephant Census-2024, the state has seen a 6% increase in its elephant population over the past seven years, with a notable rise in adult male elephants. The 2017 census recorded 1,970 elephants, which has now increased by 122.

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