Kendrapara: A wild elephant Wednesday sneaked into Kendrapara district for the first time, leaving people bewildered but excited.
A female adult elephant strayed into the agriculture fields in Laxminarayanpur village in Derabish block in the early hours Wednesday, Forest Range Officer Abhiram Jena said.
The coastal district has no deciduous or tropical forest. It houses mangrove forests or marine vegetation in abundance and has turned out to be a congenial habitat for saltwater crocodiles.
“We are trying our best to chase the animal away to its original habitat, Bairi forest in neighbouring Jajpur district. We have deployed a service group of elephant squad from Jajpur so that the animal leaves the spot without causing damage to life and property,” he said.
But the crux of the problem is the assembly of unruly people whose behaviour is irritating the wild animal, Jena said.
“We are perturbed as the agriculture fields where the animal is currently located is close to human habitations,” he said.
Shyam Sundar Rout, a resident of Chaata in Derabish block, said locals only heard tales of man-elephant conflict elsewhere in the state.
“I had seen elephants in movies, zoos and circuses. The elephant sighting was exhilarating,” Rout said.
According to conservationist Biswajit Mohanty, elephants had so far been sighted in 26 of the 30 districts in the state.
With the sighting in Kendrapara, the number of districts where the presence of elephants has been documented has gone up to 27. Three districts — Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur and Malkangiri — have so far been free from elephant depredation, Mohanty said.