Several elephants have recently strayed into in Madhya Pradesh's eastern districts of Singrauli and Anuppur, from bordering northern Chhattisgarh, causing concern among the locals and forest officials.
According to locals from Singrauli's Kusadi area, two male elephants (bulls) came near a village, creating panic among the locals. The villagers started stoning the elephants and used their dogs to chase them away.
This agitated the elephants and one of them attacked a villager. The victim, identified as Ranjeet Yadav, was thrown a few metres away by an irritated elephant using its trunk. Yadav has injured his foot and received other minor injuries.
Sub-divisional officer (SDO) forests, Singrauli Deoser range, PPS Parihar confirmed that elephants had strayed into the district in Kusadi area, adding that they were driven away by the locals. He said one person was attacked by an enraged elephant and he was being shifted to the district hospital for treatment.
Parihar said the elephants have been straying into the district occasionally for the last one decade in winter months, while they are on their journey through traditional corridor from Odisha to Chhattisgarh and back. "While returning, they stray into our side," he said.
In Anuppur district's Aamadand village, three elephants, including a baby elephant, had strayed into lawns one villager Munnu Prajapati two days ago. The villagers burst crackers and drove them away into the forest area.
District forest officer (DFO) Anuppur DS Kanesh confirmed that the forest staff and locals managed to drive away the elephants towards the forest area by drum beating and bursting of crackers.
Kanesh said in 2010 also, a herd of elephants had strayed into their district. "That time, we caught one elephant, which was later sent to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve," he said.
According to experts, elephants migrate from Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to adjoining areas in Chhattisgarh and MP as these states have abundance of bamboo, standing crops and water, which attracts them.
Also, elephants come to MP in search for 'mahua' flower, sugarcane, paddy and other eatables in fields and houses. Generally herds take refuge in small patches of forests during the daytime, and come out and raid the crops during night.
In Madhya Pradesh, elephant straying was first noticed in Sidhi district in 2002. Later, they began straying into Shahdol district from Chhattisgarh.