Migrating elephants scare villagers in Jharkhand

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Ranchi, Feb 19 (ANI): Fear grips people with bad memories of crop destruction in Jharkhand as hundreds of elephants returned to the area while on their annual migration sojourn.

With standing crops in the fields, the farmers are a worried lot. They fear arrival of elephants from the nearby forests trespassing into the fields for food.

After the monsoon, herds of wild elephants move out to the nearby forests and migrate out to Orissa, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.

The elephants return to the region during the months of February-March in search of food and rampage the fields and entire villages en route.

"These elephants trouble us a lot. We have no option but to keep bamboo sticks in our hands when we go out in the fields. These elephants come in large groups and destroy our fields," said Mansu Ram, a villager.

The forest officials in the region said that with the active participation of villagers, they are setting up trackers to monitor the migration route of the jumbos to minimise the destruction caused by them by straying into the villages posing a threat to life and property including standing crops.

"These elephants come through a particular corridor. We have placed trackers to guard the corridor. The trackers monitor the movement of the elephants and the route that they take. We are trying to ensure that these elephants do not cause further loss to the villagers," said Shashi Nand Kuliar, conservator of forest, wildlife, Jharkhand.

Many people have been trampled to death and dozens of houses destroyed by elephants in the villages lining the forestland in the past. Villagers shirk from moving around freely.

Forest officials, however, maintain that elephants harm only on provocation. By Girija Shankar Ojha (ANI)

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