Odisha No More A Safe Haven For Elephants!

Bhubaneswar: Odisha, which was once a haven for elephants, has turned into a graveyard for them of late.

According to the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department, 862 elephants have died in the last 11 years and four months. While 31 died in train mishaps, 6 were killed in road accidents and 135 were due to electrocution. Apart from this, 86 jumbos were killed by poachers while 37 were poisoned.

There has been no increase in their number since 1979 when Odisha had 2044 elephants. The 2017 elephant census found 1976 elephants in 26 districts.

Secretary of Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO) and former member of the National Board for Wildlife Biswajit Mohanty told the media there were 344 tuskers in 2017 and 150 among them were more than 20 years. Although they have more reproductive capacity, their number has been dwindling at alarming proportions with about 20 tuskers being killed every year due to poaching and electrocution.

Mohanty further said since elephant tusk has a high demand in the international market, the poachers since last 10 years have been targeting the tuskers. “While 44 tusks were seized in the last 9 years, the Crime Branch STF had till August this year seized 10 tusks,” he added.

Expressing grave concern over the rising number of deaths of the elephants, Mohanty said that if the state government fails to provide adequate security, the children will only get to see pictures of these national heritage animals in their textbooks.

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