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Odisha to deploy horses to drive away elephants, from Jharkhand and Bengal, raiding its villages

The Odisha forest department started a 24-hour control room in Baripada divisional forest office and asked the villagers not to irritate the herd elephants straying into Mayurbhanj district

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar |
September 27, 2016 12:00:51 am
Odisha, Odisha elephants, elephants in Odisha, Bhubaneswar, Odisha forest department, latest news, latest india news, latest Odisha news Over 70 elephants from Jharkhand and Bengal strayed into Mayurbhanj district (Express Photo)

With a herd of over 70 elephants including 5 tuskers and several calves straying into Mayurbhanj district from the borders of neighbouring Jharkhand and West Bengal, the Odisha forest department Monday started a 24-hour control room in Baripada divisional forest office and asked the villagers not to irritate the elephants.

Like last year, the forest department would deploy horses to drive away the herd. Baripada divisional forest officer Sanjay Swain said the smell of stool and urine of male horses irritate the elephants and keep them away from raiding the villages. Before deploying horses, the forest staff used to burn cowdung laced with chili powder to drive away the elephent herd. However, the experiment failed and rather made them more violent.

Since last few days, the 70+ elephants are causing extensive damage to standing crop in Bhatachhatar and Badasole villages of Moroda reserve forest area under Rasogovindapur forest range. Though the forest staff are tryng to to drive away the wild elephants with fireballs and bursting crackers, the department has pinned its hopes on the horses. The herd was spotted roaming in the forests located near Lodhakundia and Palo village under Suliapada forest range.

Every year elephants from Jharkhand and West Bengal come to Mayurbhanj and Balasore between October and January in search of food. But this year the elephants came a little earlier forcing several villagers to take shelter in schools. Elephants have damaged over 600 houses in both the districts, crops in more than 1500 hectares in Mayurbhanj and Balasore in last five years. The compensation of of Rs 10,000 per acre to the victims of elephant menace is of little consolation.

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The DFO said a special team has been formed by the forest department to control the movement of the elephants in the area. Apart from hores, forest guards and trained elephant driving squads have been engaged in the job.

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