Panic in Keonjhar after elephant herd strays into human settlement

Keonjhar: 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 here on Friday.

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

Hundreds of villagers gathered near the forest after the news about the elephant herd spread like wildfire in the area. Some locals also attempted to drive away the animals by risking their lives.

On the other hand, the local forest officials have urged seniors to deploy more number of staff to drive away the wild animals back into the forest.

“We fear elephant attack as the herd is camping in the area. We demand immediate measures on part of forest department officials to take necessary precaution to keep the herd at bay,” said a local villager.

“Nearly 23 wild elephants are camping in the forest since morning. Keonjhar DFO has deployed 25 squads to drive disperse the herd. We are alert and taking steps to ensure that the pachyderms do not pose any threat to life and property. “said Forest Guard, Akshay Mohanty.

Mohanty further informed that already clear instructions have been issued to the villagers not to go near the elephants.