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Pachyderms more than a match for experts ( India )

vendredi 9 novembre 2007

The wild elephants of Orissa seem to have fallen in love with the forests of Andhra Pradesh. Despite the repeated attempts of forest officials to chase them back into the neighbouring State, they continue to roam around in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.

The officials are trying hard to drive them into Lakheri sanctuary, Orissa, but the pachyderms are moving in and around Sitampet mandal in Srikakulam district and Gummalakshmi-puram mandal in Vizianagaram district.

Seven of the nine pachyderms, which are being pursued from Seemvanivalasa village in Jiyyammavalasa mandal, divided themselves into three groups. Four elephants were seen near Kanganabhadra in Sitampet mandal while two elephants are moving in and around Oppangi village in Gummalakshmipuram mandal in the same district. Another tusker was found near Hatchkonda village in Kurupam mandal.

Interestingly, the elephants have gone quiet. They are neither attacking people nor damaging crops. Instead, they are avoiding populated areas. Nonetheless, tribals and the officials are still equally scared of these wild animals. It may be recalled that two elephants were transported to Lakheri forests in a lorry on Oct 27 where one of them died and another has gone missing. This incident has infuriated the Orissa Government, which told the Andhra Pradesh forest officials not to transport elephants on lorries. It suggested that the officials chase the tuskers through the forest areas into the sanctuary, which is what the forest officials are doing.

However, the pachyderms are proving to be more than a match for the experts. The West Bengal-based Ullah team is struggling to chase the tuskers through the dense forests.

Speaking to Express, Visakhapatnam Conservator of Forests PV Padmanabham said they were not using force to drive the elephants into Orissa. He said as the elephants were moving in different groups, driving them into the forests may be delayed.

“Once the elephants are driven into Orissa forests, we are planning to dig a 15 km trench near Gotlabhadra and Addaguda. This would prevent the elephants from returning to our territory,” Padmanabham said.

November 7, 2007

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