The elephant herd that had come to Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district more than a month ago is creating a new set of challenges for the forest department officials. According to an Indian Express report, some elephants from the herd have also entered the tiger-inhabited forest space in the Bramhapuri forest division. (Chandrapur district).
Bramhapuri Deputy Conservator of Forest Deepesh Malhotra was quoted as saying that about nine elephants crossed over to the Brahmpuri side on Thursday night and caused heavy destruction on the agricultural fields. The official further said that the herd of elephants later went to the Wadsa side in the morning.
Bramhapuri forest division falls between the Chandrapur and Gadchiroli districts of the state and falls across the Vainganga river. The elephant herd is understood to have started their journey from the Odisha state and crossed into Gadchiroli district through the state of Chhattisgarh. The herd, which has a total of 24 members including four calves, had been staying in the Dhanora tehsil forest since their arrival but has now started moving towards the Wadsa division.
It is worth pointing out both Wadsa and Bramhapuri forest divisions are already battling with increasing scourge of the man-tiger conflict. The arrival of a herd of elephants with as many as 24 members is an additional challenge before the Bramhapuri Forest division officials.
Describing the recent development as “worrisome”, the Deputy Conservator said that the forest officials will have to be watchful of the movement of the elephants. The official further said that at this stage he cannot predict whether the elephants will stay in this region for a longer time.
The official also conjectured that the elephants otherwise are not likely to stay in this region as Bramhapuri is a patchy forest and elephants are used to inhabiting thick forests with a lot of bamboo which constitutes their favourite food. To the question of a possible altercation between the elephants and tigers, the official said that though tigers and elephants cohabit the same space in a lot of forests in the country, the tigers of the Brahmpuri forest are not used to living with elephants.