The Weekend Leader - Wild tuskers being guided back to their habitat

Wild tuskers being guided back to their habitat



The two wild elephants that strayed into the Terai region in Uttar Pradesh and caused havoc, were now gradually being guided back into Nepal by the five female elephants that were brought in from Dudhwa.

Forest officials said that 17 days after the wild tuskers strayed into Indian territory and killed four people, they have now started moving northwards.

The trained cow elephants from Dudhwa were deployed by forest department to attract the tuskers and slowly move them away from human population, preferably back to Nepal.

If the tuskers hit western Terai division of Uttarakhand, they can go to Corbett via Ramnagar. 

If they move towards eastern side, they will go to Chorgalia and through Gola river corridor and reach Corbett via Ramnagar. 

P.P. Singh, chief conservator of forests, Jhansi, who is the in-charge of elephant rescue operation, said: "These two jumbos will find an elephant habitat and population in Corbett. As there are many distracting factors en route, they cannot reach their destination on their own. We have started the ‘push and pull' exercise to show the elephants the right direction."

According to officials, the push-and-pull process involves lighting a fire at dusk somewhere behind the jumbos to scare them while the cow elephants move about 400 metres ahead to guide them to safety. 

Experts said that they were also sprinkling dung and urine of the cow elephants on the "right route" to attract the male jumbos.

"As elephants release pheromones (often indicating the availability of the female for breeding) in dung and urine, they trigger strong sexual reaction from the males. This is the first time when we are using this plan to nudge elephants in the right direction in Uttar Pradesh. 

"The jumbos are around 100 km away from their natural habitat in Nepal's Shuklaphanta National Park. I am not aware if this plan has been used for elephants in other parts of the country," Singh said.

According to Singh, the male elephants are expected to cover some 7 km a day. 

"We are expecting the lost jumbos to reach Corbett in four days if this plan works but a few changes may happen due to rains and other factors," he said. 

On June 24, the tuskers had strayed into the Amaria block in Pilibhit, which interestingly had not seen wild elephants in a century, and made a sugarcane field their home. 

After villagers tried to move them away to save their crop, the tuskers attacked and killed four people during their wild run through adjoining districts in the next few days. 

Police were deployed in the area and several forest department teams tried various methods to move them away, but nothing seemed to work. IANS 

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