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Tusker menace: Forest dept to develop professional chasers’ team

 
Jamshedpur, June 28: In wake of recent death of a woman by a tusker in Baghbera, the forest department has decided to develop a team of professional elephant chasers.

As part of the initiative, the Seraikela-Kharswan divisional forest authorities have planned to rope in Bankura-based trainer Bhola Mahato to develop a band of professional elephant chasers.

“In the wake of two casualties who were trampled to death by the elephants on prowl we have decided to have our own band of professionals who could drive away the wild elephants back to the jungle whenever such requirement arrives,” said an official of divisional forest range, Seraikela-Kharswan. 

The guest trainer will coach villagers on methods to drive away marauding wild elephants back to the jungle from the paddy fields.

At present, a 12-member team from West Bengal is here to drive away elephants back to Dalma forest. “They will stay here for about a week and assist the department in driving away the two elephant’s herd back to the Dalma forest in the Rankakocha and Haribhanj area of the district,” he said.

The forest official said herd of Rankakocha comprises about two dozen elephants including a new born calf while Haribhanj comprises 20 elephants including few tuskers.

The visiting team would however not train the villagers. “The team is here for a specific job (to chase away the elephants back to the jungle) while the training to the village youths will be given by their master Bhola (Mahato) sometime later,” he said.

The professional’s team, which has arrived perhaps for the first time in the Singhbhum, is equipped with crackers, torch light and drums to drive away the elephant’s herd.

The officer, further informed that local village boys largely tribals would be identified for the training purpose.
“The department is looking for young men between 18 to 25 years of age group for the training purpose and preference would be on those villages which are adjacent to the Dalma forest hill,” said a middle-rung forest official in the division.

People are in state of havoc due to such menace. Sometimes villagers migrate to safer places for a week or more to avoid the sudden night-time attacks of the wild elephant herds.

“We are forced to spend sleepless nights. Our lives are at risk due to rampaging elephants. Elephants regularly venture into villages, destroy houses, damage standing crops and even trample people to death. We are forced to work like a ‘night guard’ to save our lives and crops,” said Langu Munda.

He said that rampaging elephants are a cause of concern. Some measures have been adopted and there is need to do more to protect the people.

The farmers have been asked to inform the nearest range office in case of crop raiding so that special teams will be deputed to drive the elephants into the deep jungle.

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