Chhattisgarh elephants enter Gadchiroli and injure farmer | Nagpur News

Nagpur: Even as Gadchiroli grapples with the worst human-animal conflict in its history over tigers, the entry of a herd of 18 elephants into the tribal-dominated district has put the forestry department on the back burner. toes after a farmer was injured in a stroke. Elephants enter Gadchiroli after nearly 300 years, according to wildlife experts.
While an expert said the elephants may have been forced to leave due to mining in their habitat, an official from Chhattisgarh said the animals are known to travel long distances.
Kishore Mankar, Conservator of Forests (CF) in Gadchiroli, said: “With an ideal mixed forest habitat and sufficient water, the herd appears to have entered Gadchiroli Division from Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh four days ago and was in Murumgaon on Tuesday and is now in the Dhanora lineup. The herd is 40 km away in Maharashtra.
“On Wednesday, elephants injured a farmer – Ashok Madavi from Yerkad village – as he approached the herd. We are not equipped and trained to deal with elephants. Staff and villagers were ordered not to approach the jumbos to take photos or videos. The farmers are very worried because their rice crop will soon be harvested, ”Mankar said.
In November 2019, two elephants – named Ram and Balram – had passed through Kochinara to Korchi tehsil in Gadchiroli from the Manpur region in Chhattisgarh for a brief period. The jumbos were pushed towards Darekasa in Gondia and later they moved towards Pachmarhi.
Gadchiroli District Honorary Wildlife Custodian Uday Patel believes elephants may have entered Gadchiroli through two possible routes: 1. Bawanpara-Dhamtari-Balod-Dalli Rajhara-Ambagarh-Malewada-Murumgaon-Dhanora; 2. Sitanadi-Udanti-Dhamtari-Manpur-Murumgaon-Yerkad-Dhanora.
The Highlands of Central India, a book written by British author James Forsyth in 1874 on forest, wild tribes and natural history, makes no mention of the presence of wild elephants in the eastern landscape of Vidarbha after the eighteenth century. By the late 1800s, elephants were common in the northern parts of the Maikal Hills north of Bilaspur. Forsyth estimated 200 to 300 elephants in 3000 km². This population was a western extension of Sirguja, Chhota Nagpur and Cuttack.
Prafulla Bhamburkar of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), an NGO working on elephant conservation in other states, said: “This is forced migration as elephant states like Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattigarh are losing vast expanses of their habitats for the benefit of iron ore and coal mines. . ”
“Elephants started migrating from Odisha and Jharkhand to Chhattisgarh since the 1980s, and from Chhattisgarh they have now started to enter MP and Maharashtra. A herd of 40 elephants that traveled from Chhattisgarh in 2018 got lost near Bandhavgarh and did not return. The animals need something up to 5,000 km² of virgin forest and they travel 25 km daily, ”said Chhattisgarh forest officials.
However, PV Narasingha Rao from Chhattisgarh PCCF (Wildlife) said, “This is not forced migration. Elephants continue to travel long distances, and after the passage of time they also return. We have around 300-320 elephants in the wild. It is true that giant mammals go through difficult times due to conflict, but we are taking steps to divert them to the forests. ”
According to the Mineral Resources Department, Chhattisgarh has nearly 5.6 tons of coal, which is 16% of all coal deposits in India. Twelve coal basins located in the districts of Raigarh, Surguja, Koriya and Korba represent more than 44,400 tons of coal.
“Traditionally, elephants roamed freely in Hasdeo Aranya Sanctuary, but after mining began, the forests were fragmented. An area of ​​400 km² has been proposed for the elephant reserves located in Surajpur, Korba and Sarguja, but a prominent private group operates a large coal mine in the Hasdeo Aranya area, ”NGOs there said. .
The state’s iron ore reserves total 4,000 mt, or about 19% of the country’s total iron ore reserves. Kondagaav, Narayanpur, Jagdalpur and Dantewada in southern Chhattisgarh are the main sites for iron ore mining. These belts of coal and iron ore are natural habitats for elephants and 350 species of wildlife.
According to a WTI report titled “Right of Way, Indian Elephant Corridors,” the fragmented nature of the Indian landscape, with people everywhere, has increased encounters between elephants and humans. The conflict makes 400 to 450 people and 100 elephants every year in the country.

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