The Madhya Pradesh Forest department has rescued a herd of elephants that entered the state's Sidhi district from neighbouring Chhattisgarh, an official said Thursday.
The elephants had entered Sidhi district, over 500 kilometres from here, on August 4 after crossing the Mawai River and had first halted in the jungles near Kundaur village of Sanjay Tiger Reserve (STR), the official informed.
"They vandalised huts in the vicinity of the village, rummaged through foodgrain stocks and destroyed standing crops. The Sanjay Tiger Reserve authorities had to install solar lights on the border of the village to halt their march into the village," the official informed.
The elephants had reached within 15 kilometres of the Sidhi district headquarters, he said.
"The elephants also killed two people. Round the clock vigil was maintained on the route the elephants were taking. The state's forest department roped in experts from West Bengal to drive away the elephants. Villagers en route were warned through different media about the presence of the pachyderms," the official said.
A rescue plan was chalked out and a team comprising officers and staff of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR) and STR, seven elephant-mahout pairs, Tiger Protection Force personnel among others was deployed, he said.
The operation began on September 7 and the team rescued a bull elephant on September 9, a calf on September 12, two cow elephants on September 15 and the last one on September 16, he said.
The translocation process of these elephants to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR) in the state's Umaria district is in progress, a Public Relations Department official said Thursday.
This is, possibly, the first successful rescue operation of elephants anywhere in the country, the official claimed.
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