Nilagiri: Panic gripped Nilagiri in Balasore district after a herd of wild elephants from Jharkhand crossed the Durgadevi forest, bordering the two areas, and entered Tinikosia forest range under Kuldiha sanctuary in the early hours of Wednesday.
As informed by the Range Officer of Nilagiri, the herd compromises 36 elephants and five calves.
Stating that the Jharkhand elephants have been entering Nilagiri since last 10 years, the Ranger said herds of elephants trespass into Odisha during the paddy harvesting season. “The herds, in the past, have damaged standing crops, but stayed away from the human habitations. This year, it is for the fifth time that the elephants have entered Nilagiri. Since there is no standing crop in the field, they might enter the nearby villages in search of food,” he said.
The Ranger attributed this exodus to insufficient food in the forests of the neighbouring state. They could also be pushed into Odisha by the forest department officials, he further said.
“We are keeping a close watch on the movement of this elephant herd,” he added.