Elephants from Jharkhand trigger panic in Keonjhar

Keonjhar: Locals residing in villages under the Keonjhar forest division are in a state of panic after 160 wild elephants from neighbouring Jharkhand strayed into the region.

The pachyderms were spotted moving around in groups across the division.

According to sources from the forest department, at least 68 elephants were spotted inside Champua Forest Range while some  herds were found in Malda, Dubuna, Mirigisinga and Tuntuna areas under the division.

“The pachyderms have already destroyed acres of crops and continue to enter local settlements. We are terrified because of the elephants. The jumbos have destroyed our eucalyptus plantations and our attempts to drive them back to the forest have failed, said Prahlad Mahanta, a local resident.

Meanwhile, as many as 16 different squads have been formed by the forest department to chase away jumbos into the jungles.

“We have intimated the foresters to keep vigil and ensure that elephants are safely driven away and  the affected locals are immediately compensated for their crop damages,”Keonjhar DFO, Santosh Joshi said.

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Earlier on Monday, as many as 40 wild elephants were spotted roaming near Dalimbadiha and Bakharatola villages of Sundergarh district triggering panic among the residents. The herd of jumbos have been reportedly destroying several houses and crops in Bonai area.

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