Odishatv Bureau

Keonjhar: The Keonjhar forest department has constituted 15 squads to chase away rampaging elephant herd that has strayed into Champua range from neighbouring Jharkhand.

More than 20 elephants including a wild tusker were spotted at Mukundpur, Sartalia, Mirigisinga and Mangalpur area yesterday. The herd destroyed standing crops on nearly two acres of land leading to resentment among locals.

Official sources said elephants had entered Jharkhand after crossing Odisha border on June 21. However, the same herd is again back while keeping the forest officials on their toes.

Champua Ranger said that torch lights are being used in night hours while crackers during the day to chase away the wild animals and keep it away from straying into human settlements.

Earlier panic gripped locals of Chemana village under Patana forest range in Keonjhar district after a herd of over 20 elephants was spotted at eucalyptus forest region close to the human settlement on June 8.

Sources had said the pachyderms strayed from Mayurbhanj side after crossing the Baitarani river and camped in the eucalyptus forest near Chemana village.