Rajaji jumbos liking jungles in hills of Narendranagar
The elephants of Rajaji national park have taken a liking to the jungles in the hilly area of Narendranagar forest division in Tehri district. In the past too, the herds of pachyderms from the Rajaji area used to visit the jungles in adjoining Narendranagar forest division but return after a few days. However, now the elephants are spending more time in this hilly region. In addition to this, the recent elephant census exercise conducted a few days ago has also revealed that the elephant population in the region is estimated to have doubled. According to forest officials, adequate food, water and safe areas to move around are attracting the jumbos to this region.
It should be mentioned here that though elephants from Rajaji venturing in the Narendranagar area is not new, the jumbos have now started staying in this region for longer periods. The movement of elephants has increased in jungles of Kushrela, Gujrada, Bakhroti, Dhalwala, Oni, Timli, Shivpuri, Katal, Daunr and Teil villages in Narendranagar forest division. According to the departmental officials, these jungles have all that is necessary to sustain the pachyderms which is why they are preferring to stay here longer than in the past. An adult elephant needs about 200 litres of water and two quintals of food per day. Further, the elephant census exercise conducted recently by the department has shown an increase in the elephant population in this region. According to officials, the jumbo population in this region has increased from seven to more than 15. One of the reasons for this is the negligible human interference in the jungles of Narendranagar forest division. Apart from patrolling and installation of cameras, the department also strictly regulates the limited movement of Van Gujjars. The traditional elephant corridors in the plains have been disrupted considerably by human presence and encroachments.
The Narendranagar divisional forest officer Dharm Singh Meena said that with the elephant population in the division estimated to have increased to more than 15, a plan is being prepared to plant more grass and tree species which the elephants prefer for food. In addition to elephants, the movement of other wild animals has also increased in this division. According to officials, the camera traps installed during the lockdown have recorded bear, striped hyena, Sambar, porcupine, pangolin, leopard and various bird species.
Sunday, 14 June 2020 | Vinod Chamoli | Chamba (Tehri)
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