BHUBANESWAR: The forest officers are likely to meet their Jharkhand and West Bengal counterparts at Tata on Wednesday to discuss ways to tackle the menace of straying elephants. Elephants from Jharkhand stay put in Odisha and West Bengal, wreaking havoc on human habitations and crops.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) S S Srivastav said around 120 elephants from Jharkhand sneak into Odisha in November and December. "The animals damage houses and crops in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts. We will discuss as to why elephants from Jharkhand migrate to Odisha during these months," he said. Lack of food and poaching could the reasons for elephants starying into Odisha, he added.
A senior forest officer said an effective strategy would be chalked out to tackle the menace. The movement of elephants can be restricted through some scientific method or by providing adequate fodder at their native habitat, the officer said.
Official sources said elephants stray into Mayurbhanj from Rasgobindpur and Balasore through Bhalugheri and Phuljhari forests.
In February, the state government signed an MoU with Bangalore-based Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), a private body, to ascertain whether the state can accommodate more elephants. The ANCF study will also focus on how to improve the existing habitat. The experts would examine whether required quantity of food, shelters and water bodies are present in the existing sanctuaries.
Odisha has more than 1,900 elephants, which are mainly concentrated in Chandaka, Similipal Tiger Reserve and Mahanadi Wildlife Division. In the last four years, 282 elephants have been killed in accidents, electrocution and poaching.