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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: After reportedly killing at least four persons in Pipili and Khurda forest divisions, the wild tusker was spotted near Ghatikia on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar on Monday. A massive operation was launched today by forest department to drive back the pachyderm back into the Chandaka forest.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Hari Shankar Upadhyay informed that the sub-adult elephant had moved out of Chandaka on February 18, and moved into the Khurda-Delanga forest area.

Though efforts were initiated by the forest department staff to drive back the jumbo, it changed its direction after villagers obstructed its natural path on February 22. As people are not used to elephant movement in Puri, many people started coming very close to the elephant, which led to the incident, he said.

“Pipili is not the natural movement area of the elephant. Efforts are on to drive back the jumbo back into Chandaka forest. Tranquilising team is also on standby,” said Upadhyay.

Earlier, residents of Ghatikia and nearby areas were in panic after the news of presence and movement of the elephant spread like wild fire in the region. The pachyderm was stay put near ayurvedic garden for long hours today and the forest department personnel were guarding the place to prevent any untoward incident.

It is pertinent to mention here that the wild tusker reportedly trampled four persons to death yesterday.

As per reports, the jumbo killed one Jugal Bhatta of Gopinathpur village, Makar Palei of Chandradeipur, Chaitanya Sahu of Rajatai village and Ajay Nayak of Jamalpur besides injuring six others in Pipili of Puri district.

Later in the evening, forest officials were successful in driving back the jumbo back into Chandaka forest.

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