ANI Photo | Chhattisgarh: ‘Gajayatra’ campaign averts human-elephant conflict in Mahasamund

A public awareness campaign ‘Gajayatra’ was taken up by the forest department in Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday to prevent human-elephant conflict.
Chhattisgarh Forest Range Officer, Piyush Tandey, highlighted the campaign’s impact, stating that it commenced on October 8, 2021, and has significantly contributed to reducing incidents of conflict.
“The Gajayatra campaign is playing a crucial role in preventing elephant-human conflicts. It started on October 8, 2021, focusing on extensive publicity in villages to educate people about the measures to take and avoid when encountering elephants,” Piyush Tandey said.
The Gajayatra campaign operates through a three-stage approach.
“In the first phase, we conduct a Gajyatra yatra schedule in the morning, reaching out to school children to inform them about elephant behaviour and raising awareness. In the second phase, we visit marketplaces to advise people on the proper conduct when elephants are around. Following that, a program, Sangvari is conducted featuring a short movie to spread awareness,” Chhattisgarh Forest Range Officer said.
Tandey informed that the campaign successfully covered 8910 villages in the Mahasamujd district.
“This approach has successfully covered 8910 villages in the Mahasamujd district, and many people have benefited. In the past two years, except for one unfortunate case, there hasn’t been a single incident related to human-elephant conflict,” Tandey added.
A few months ago, traffic on Chhattisgarh’s highway Korba came to a standstill after a herd of elephants in the Chodhwa village of the Kendai forest range demonstrated remarkable group defence for an elephant calf that fell into a deep ditch.
Katghora Divisional Forest Officer, Nishant Kumar, said, “The cause of the unusual ‘chakka jam’ was an elephant calf that had fallen into a deep ditch next to the highway, prompting the herd of elephants to intervene.”
A herd of elephants, on Thursday evening, ventured into the Katghora forest range and was crossing National Highway-130 when the baby elephant fell into a ditch in the Madai region, the official said.
The herd immediately surrounded the calf forming a protective circle.
This incident disrupted traffic at both ends of the route, with motorists stopping to observe the fascinating scene, the DFO said

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