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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Monsoon challenge ahead as 23 Chhattisgarh tuskers stay on

Monsoon challenge ahead as 23 Chhattisgarh tuskers stay on

Updated on: 24 June,2023 07:39 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ranjeet Jadhav |

Experts believe pachyderm corridor is expanding westwards due to east Maharashtra’s ample food, water

Monsoon challenge ahead as 23 Chhattisgarh tuskers stay on

Elephants that strayed from Chhattisgarh make themselves at home at Navegaon in Gondia district last week. Pic/Mithun Chavan, Navegaon RRT

This monsoon may present challenges for forest department officials in the eastern districts of Gadchiroli and Gondia because the herd of 23 elephants from Chhattisgarh that wandered into Maharashtra has not returned home as it did last year. They are currently at Navegaon, Gondia. Due to recent visits by a tusker from Chhattisgarh, which is not one of the 23, experts believe that the pachyderms’ corridor is extending westwards into Maharashtra.

Sagnik Sengupta, co-founder of the NGO Stripes and Green Earth Foundation, which has been assisting the Maharashtra forest department in tracking the elephant, said, “For the first time, on May 12, a lone tusker from Chhattisgarh strayed into Bhamragad, Gadchiroli, which was a completely new area for it. After two days, it went back to Chhattisgarh. We could identify the elephant, ME03, from videos using the database of Wildlife SOS, which has been monitoring the herds in central and southern Chhattisgarh. His left tusk tip is broken, which could be seen in videos and the database picture.”

On June 13, a tusker was seen in the Malewada area of Gadchiroli’s Wadsa division. Forest department officials and experts assume that it’s the one that visited Bhamragad but because of a lack of proper videos or pictures, it is difficult to identify the elephant. According to Sengupta, the pachyderms’ presence in Navegaon and the occasional straying of loners into Maharashtra is a sign of things to come. “In the coming years, more herds from central and southern Chhattisgarh will migrate to the state in search of food and water, both of which Gadchiroli and Gondia have plenty of,” he said.

In October 2021, a herd of elephants entered the Gadchiroli from Chhattisgarh. While the elephants went back to the neighbouring state in March 2022, they returned to the eastern district in August 2022. It is said that habitat loss due to large-scale coal and iron ore mining in Chhattisgarh might be a reason for their exodus.

Aug 2022
Month the herd came back to Gadchiroli

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