Dehradun: A sudden change in the seasonal movement trend of elephants in Uttarakhand has alarmed the experts. The routine movement of pachyderms from the plains to the foothill areas during the monsoon has not taken place since last year. The heavy animal is now keeping itself to the plains even during the rainy season in the Rajaji National Park and adjoining areas.

The specialists are now demanding an elaborate study and concrete measures to check the movement of the elephants.

The elephants used to move to the foothill areas during the rainy season in Chila, Gauhari, Chiriyapur range of Rajaji National Park and in Rishikesh area alongside Dehradun. The movement takes place due to the attack of mosquitoes which breed in the water logged areas in the plains. Also, the ample food and water availability attracts the elephants towards the foothills.

The change in this routine movement has limited the elephants to the plains in the Chila range in Rajaji National Park and Rishikesh and Lal-Tappad forest ranges. However, some reasons that may be the cause behind this change can be the presence of human population in the foothill which discourage their free movement.

Speculations are rife that prevalence of suitable climate in the plain areas or a change in foothill climate may also be the reason behind it.  While, various hurdles in forests may also be restricting the free movement of elephants during the season, their living situations like too young calves  or their compulsion to be the part of the coop can also be the reason for their sticking to the plains.

It is to be noted, elephants living in south-western region of Rajaji National Park are unable to move due to the road and rail routes passing through Motichur, Haridwar, Asharori and Mohand areas.

Dr Ritesh Joshi, Wildlife Scientist, Central Environment and Forests Ministry said, “A strategic study must be conducted to check this change in the usual movement of the elephants during the rainy season. It must look into various dimensions like circumstantial reasons and the ill-effects of this change.” 

(JPN/Bureau)