Odisha lost 1 jumbo every 5 days in last three and half years (Bhubaneswar)
The New Indian Express
September 8, 2021
Odisha has lost 282 elephants in the last three and half years. Between the
financial year 2018-19 and the first five months of 2021, one jumbo died
almost every five days in the State.
At least 43 elephants fell to electrocution during the period. Train
mishaps claimed 13, while four elephants lost their lives in road accidents
in the State, according to information furnished by Forest and Environment
Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh in the State Assembly. Only seven deaths were
attributed to poaching.
As per the Minister’s information, 59 elephants died due to other accidents
which included fall from hills and drowning in rivers and water bodies as
well as infighting. Arukh while replying to a question from member Prafulla
Samal said the State has managed to bring down elephant deaths.
A total of 93 elephants had died in 2018-19. The number came down to 82 in
2019-20 and 77 in 2020-21. At least 30 pachyderms died between April and
August this year. Anthrax and other diseases claimed 95 elephant lives. The
cause of death is yet to be ascertained in 21 cases, which includes six
In Odisha, rapid urbanization, mining and industry, expansion of linear
infrastructure and fragmented habitats have sent elephants into a growing
conflict with humans over the last several years.
The Minister stated that no declining trend of the elephant population is
seen in the State as the jumbo population has continuously grown.
Census 2012 had pegged their headcount at 1,930 which subsequently
increased to 1,954 in 2015 and 1,976 in 2017.
The Minister also informed that the state lost 17 leopards in this period
which included two Royal Bengal tigers, killed in electrocution and disease
separately in 2018-19. Five leopards were killed in poaching. The Special
Task Force of Odisha Police, State Forest department as well as the
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau have seized at least 29 leopard skins since
April 2020. Nine leopard skins were seized by Forest officials in
Kalahandi alone in July this year.