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Elephant Deaths on Rise

Bhubaneswar: As many as 91 wild elephants were killed due to various accidents, poaching and poisoning in Odisha during 2017-18 to 2021-22.

This was informed by Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey in LokSabha on Monday.

In a written statement to the Lower House, Mr.Choubey said 17 jumbos were killed after being hit by train during crossing while electrocution led to the death of another 63 elephants.

Similarly, poachers have killed 10 wild elephants in Odisha during the five years. However, only one elephant died due to poisoning, the Minister said.

According to the last elephant census conducted in 2017, there are 1,976 elephants in Odisha.

Informing about the measures taken by the Ministry in prevention of elephant deaths due to unnatural reasons, Mr.Choubey said the Ministry provides financial and technical assistance to States/UTs under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes ‘Project Elephant’ for protection and conservation of elephants and their habitats in the country.

To reduce human-elephant conflict and to avoid retaliatory killing of elephants, compensation is provided to local communities for loss of their property and life caused by wild elephants, he said.

The States/UTs and power transmission agencies have been requested to take necessary steps for compliance of Electricity Rules & Regulations and to maintain minimum ground clearance for electric transmission lines for minimizing death of elephants due to electrocution, he said.

A general advisory has been issued jointly by the Ministry of Railways (MoRs) and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in 2010 to the General Managers of North East Frontier, East Coast and Southern Railways with a request to implement the suggested measures.

The MoS said a guideline for management of human elephant conflict has been issued by the Ministry on 6 October 2017 and elephant range states have been requested for implementation of the same.

Critical elephant habitats are notified as ‘Elephant Reserve’ for focus and synergy in elephant conservation and to reduce conflict. So far, 32 elephant reserves have been established in 14 major elephant States including three in Odisha.

A field manual for frontline staff to manage human elephant conflict was released on 29 April, 2022, he added.