Locals refuse to give away elephant pair, stage road blockade

Baripada: Tension erupted in the Karanjia area of Mayurbhanj today as hundreds of locals took to streets protesting relocation of two elephants from Similpal Wildlife Sanctuary in the district to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul.

Led by activists of Congress party, the locals staged a road blockade near Singada Chhak under Karanjia police limits.

Despite having voiced their discontentment over the move last week, forest officials were trying to stealthily take away the jumbos last night, rued the villagers.

However, the reports soon reached the locals, who rushed to the roads and stopped movement of  the elephants any further.

The holding up of both the elephants, near the chhak  has led to disruption in vehicular movement, informed sources.

Meanwhile the forest department is yet to explain the need for transfer of the elephant duo- Mahendra aged 55 years and Yuvraj aged 15.

As per sources, the two tuskers were being shifted to the Satkosia Tiger Reserve to help in tracking the new pair of tiger couple that were recently relocated from Kanha and Bandhavgarh national parks in Madhya Pradesh.

It may be noted that earlier too, the locals had foiled the attempts made by forest officials to shift the tuskers. Residents shared that the tusker duo was asset in the area and helped  in controlling wildlife crimes since the past one decade.

“The elephants have helped in controlling wild life crimes such as poaching and timber smuggling since past one decade,” a villager said adding that residents have developed an emotional attachment with the animals.

But the Similpal authorities are not bothered about our sentiments and forcibly trying to shift the pachyderms to Satkosia, he alleged.