MIDNAPORE: The herd of about 45 Dalma elephants that entered Odisha on Friday returned to West Midnapore’s Nayagram early on Saturday with Bengal foresters crying foul that the pachyderms had been pushed back by the neighbouring state.

The herd had entered the Bheduasole and Phuljhor forests in Odisha. State forest department officials alleged that the elephants had been chased from both forests. On Saturday morning, the herd crossed back into Nayagram’s Dhumsai forest.

Forest officials said that all the elephants in the herd were tired and six elephant calves preferred only to rest. Kharagpur DFO Anjan Guha said, “We had heaved a sigh of relief when the herd crossed over to Odisha on Friday. We had hoped that we would get a respite from the monitoring the herd for at least a month. But it is apparent that the herd was chased back after entering Odisha. Returning so soon is not in sync with the elephants’ nature. We tried to speak to the DFO in Odisha’s Balasore to know why the elephants had been treated this way. But, there was no response.”

Foresters said they believed the tusker in the herd would once again lead the rest of the group towards Odisha as it is the normal practice of Dalma elephants to traverse through both Bengal and Odisha and head back to Jharkhand finally. “We will ask the Odisha forest authorities to ensure the herd does not face any further resistance,” said another senior forest official.

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Source: TOI-Kol