Baripada: A large herd of wild elephants have strayed away from West Bengal and unleashed widespread panic and fear in several villages of Rasogovindpur and Betanati block in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district, forest officials said.

The herd of 45 elephants including four tuskers and five calves on their way to Nilagiri forest caused extensive damage to the standing vegetable and paddy crops in Badasole, Bhatachhatara village under Rasogovindapur forest range, Baripada divisional forest officer Sanjay Kumar Swain said.

Traversing about 25 km the herd has advanced to Asanabani village forest under Betanati block as reported yesterday. However, no casualty was reported on human lives, he added.

Considering the situation 120 forest personnel were being deployed along with two tamed horses to tackle the jumbo menace, DFO mentioned.

The bid to whisk away the large herd of jumbos before entry to the territory of Mayurbhanj district by the forest personnel yielded no result, the DFO lamented.

However identified villages such as Dalaki, Nadapur were put on high alert where the villagers were warned through announcement by loud speakers and advised to remove the harvest of the standing crop before any damage was caused by the wild herd of the elephants he further told.

Even the villagers were directed to do away with substances like country made spirits, mohua pouch and locally brewed rice beer which are considered to be the favourites of the jumbos.

Forest personnel armed with fire balls and fire torches were frantically involved to deter the herd from making further advancement on their sojourn, Swain claimed.

The urine and dung of horses which were considered to allergens to the jumbos are also being utilized, he said.

Added to the woes another herd of 30 wild elephants who are trailing this group were being monitored at the border adjoining West Bengal and all possible precautionary measures are on the anvil by the Baripada forest division.

Every year large groups of jumbos make their sojourn to Nilagiri forest range from West Bengal and cause large scale damage to property and lives during November to January.

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