The herd was spotted roaming in the forests located near Lodhakundia and Palo village under Suliapada forest area.
The Mayurbhanj district on Monday witnessed a herd of over 70 elephants including 5 tuskers straying in the area. They are believed to have crossed the borders of neighbouring Jharkhand and West Bengal, for which the Odisha forest department initiated a 24-hour control room in Baripada divisional forest office.
The officials asked the villagers to not irritate the herd and like last year, the department would deploy horses to drive away the herd. The smell of stool and urine of male horses irritate the elephants and keep them away from the village, said Baripada divisional forest officer Sanjay Swain.
Before deploying horses, the forest staff used to burn cowdung laced with chilli powder to drive away elephants, which however failed and in turn made them more violent.
Since last few days, the herd of over 70 elephants are causing extensive damage to standing crop in Bhatachhatar and Badasole villages of Moroda reserve forest area under Rasogovindapur forest range. The herd was spotted roaming in the forests located near Lodhakundia and Palo village under Suliapada forest area.
Every year elephants from Jharkhand and West Bengal come to Mayurbhanj and Balasore between October and January in search of food. But this time they came a little earlier forcing villagers to take shelter in schools. In the last fiver years, elephanst have damaged over 600 houses in both districts, rops in more than 1500 hectares in Mayurbhanj and Balasore in last five years.