Odisha Plans Plantation Drive To Keep Wild Elephants Away

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has decided to take up fodder plantation in 1,250 acres of land to prevent elephants from straying into human habitations in search of food.

The government hopes that this will help in abetting the incidents of man-elephant conflict in Odisha.

In the latest such incident, three people were killed and four others were injured after an elephant rampaged across Gopinathpur village near Pipili in Puri district.

The jumbo had reportedly crossed a highway and sneaked into human habitations in search of food. The elephant even caused crop damage.

Forest officials said lack of fodder and water and increase in cropping areas surrounding forests are the key reasons behind such incidents of elephants entering human habitations.

To stem the problem, the Forest and Environment Department will plant fruit-bearing trees in more than 500 hectares of land under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) scheme and Rs 803.65 crore has been approved for 2020-21.

The fund will be spent for block plantation, assisted natural regeneration, bald hill and fruit-bearing plantation, maintenance and plantation for wildlife management, officials said.

Apart from the plantation drive, there is a proposal to revive 200 water bodies in forest areas and elephant corridors to ensure adequate water for the wild animals under the scheme.

The situation of man-elephant was at its worst towards the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year as more than 10 human lives were lost in elephant attack.

At the same time, more than 70 elephants have also lost their lives in 2019-20 due to poaching, electrocution, accident and other reasons.

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