Wild Elephant Enters Telangana

Thu 04 Apr 2024, 11:52:47
A young male tusker strayed into Telangana from Maharashtra on Wednesday and trampled a man to death in Burepally village of Koutala mandal. The incident caused panic in KB Asifabad district. The deceased was identified as 45-year-old Alluri Shankar. He died after an attack by the elephant while working in a chilli farm in the afternoon hours. The forest department instantly announced an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the deceased’s family, as rules stipulate. It rushed a large number of staff from Asifabad and neighbouring districts to monitor the elephant’s movements.

Officials were on tenterhooks late in the evening, unsure if the elephant would move back into Maharashtra to reunite with its herd, or move further south in Asifabad district. “The elephant got separated from its herd, said to comprise between 70 and 75 elephants in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. It crossed the Pranahita river and entered Asifabad. So far, it has moved some seven km inside Telangana,” principal chief conservator of forests RM Dobriyal.

“As soon as we received information about the elephant entering Telangana, we alerted our staff, the police and revenue departments and tom-tommed in all nearby villages, asking the people not to go near the elephant or chase it,” he said. The PCCF said, “The tusker is clearly agitated and it has already killed one person. Our teams are monitoring its movements and we are also in constant touch with Maharashtra forest

officials to ascertain where its herd is located or moving. Our efforts are to encourage it to return to its herd.”

This is the first time a wild elephant has entered Telangana from Maharashtra. Officials were worried on Wednesday evening, wondering what next. “We are not equipped to deal with a large herd. We are hoping to encourage the stray to cross the river and return to its herd,” the PCCF said. By Wednesday evening, the elephant was seen moving in a non-forested area, “and we don’t know which direction it will take from where it is now,” he added.

Telangana’s chief wildlife warden M.C. Pargaien said the current operation was being supervised by the Kawal Tiger Reserve field director Shanta Ram and Asifabad district forest officer Niraj Tiberwal with assistance from the local police and revenue officials. He said Maharashtra forest officials informed TS officials that the elephant herd moved into Gadchiroli forest area two days ago from Chhattisgarh. “The combined teams from the forest, police and revenue have been directed to ensure that no villager ventures out of his or her house till further instructions.” Extensive tom-tomming was done on this in all adjacent habitations. Local sarpanches and MPP members have been asked to ensure safety of people,” he said. Firecrackers have been procured to dissuade the tusker from venturing into villages, he added.

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