Jamshedpur, Jan. 31 : The picturesque natural beauty of Dalma is abuzz with activities of over a dozen tuskers these days. After staying in Bengal jungles for almost a year, the elephants have started returning to their Dalma home. Officials of Dalma informed that over a dozen have come back while others are on their way. Others are expected to leave Mednipore and Bankura jungles shortly.
The jumbos have started returning back home from their annual sojourn to the jungles of West Midnapore and Bankura in neighbouring Bengal. The elephants had migrated to Bengal in August-September last year. The herds normally return home by mid-January and March. The Dalma elephant count is 157.
Dalma range officer R.P. Singh said elephants were coming back and could slip into the sanctuary any day. We are keeping an eye on their movement. Some herds are in the fringes while a sizable section have already left the jungles of Bankura and West Midnapore, he added.
According to him, the elephants had shown tendency to return but were forced to amble back to Bengal after villagers drove them away for damaging standing crops and houses.
The Dalma range office has already distributed crackers and torches among the villages Mango living in the periphery as a precautionary measure.
Tourists flock the Dalma sanctuary to watch the elephants in their playful best at different watering holes, including Badka Bandh and BijliGhati. They generally move into the core area after entering the sanctuary, some 30 km from Jamshedpur.
Abundance of water and fodder had held up jumbos in forest of neighbouring Bengal.
Jumbos generally return home to the reserve by the end of February or at the most the first week of March. But this year they overstayed in Bengal. The perennial water sources are basically ponds running 15 to 20 feet deep while the new artificial water sources are similar to the lake with adequate slope area across the lake for easy access of the wildlife to the water source. The depth of the artificial water sources is also around 15 feet.
The return of elephants in large number to the Dalma sanctuary suggests that the availability of water in plenty will ensure their stay in the sanctuary for long, said noted an official of wild life division, Ranchi.
Notably Dalma is the best elephant habitat of Jharkhand, where the pachyderms love to spend their summer. Dalma used to be pleasing with temperatures less than 30 degrees C. But due to rising mercury over the years the elephants started migration to green pastures.
The availability of water during summer is all the more alluring for the elephants to migrate. There are over 80 elephants in the Dalma sanctuary. The elephants often have the tendency to go into agricultural fields adjoining the sanctuary in search of food. The forest department has made arrangements to keep them anchored in Dalma, by providing water and greenery.