Kumki Elephants To Keep Watch On Bengal Tigers In Satkosia

Elephants from Dalma Sanctuary in Jharkhand entered Jadibali forests at Nilgiri in Balasore on Wednesday. Photograph: Odishabytes

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has decided to bring Kumki elephants from Karnataka to keep a watch on the movement of the two Royal Bengal tigers brought from Madhya Pradesh, who are released in the wild of the Satkosia Sanctuary in Angul district.

The trained Kumki elephants will also be used for capturing, calming and herding wild elephants or to lead wild elephants away in conflict situations.

“The state government has approved this proposal of the Forest and Environment department. Efforts are on to bring the Kumki elephants from the neighbouring states in two-three months,” Chief Wildlife Warden, Sandip Tripathy told mediapersons here on Tuesday.

He said that people living on the periphery of Satkosia have been panicky after the two Royal Bengal tigers were brought from the Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh. As there is a possibility that these royal cats will barge into human habitation, the Forest Department has decided to bring specially trained Kumki elephants, who will not only keep a watch on the Bengal tigers but also ensure that they will not barge into human settlement.

“We are talking to the Karnataka government to procure Kumki elephants. We have mooted a proposal to bring three Kumki elephants from Karnataka free of cost. These elephants are most effective during the monsoon season as it is very difficult for the Forest Department personnel to move inside the dense forest. Besides, in other seasons they can also move inside the core forest area to track the movement of the tigers,” he added.

Tripathy further said that the Kukmki elephants would also help in driving away other elephants, which often enter human settlements.

Wildlife expert Bijay Ketan Patnaik said apart from keeping a watch on the tigers and wild elephants, the Kumki elephants can also be used for patrolling the inaccessible forest areas to track down the timber mafia and poachers.

Some years back, two Kumki elephants, Mahendra and Rajkumar were brought to Odisha from Karnataka. These two trained elephants are now engaged in patrolling and other works in Similipal National Park in Mayurbhanj district.

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