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Odisha Seeks Kumki Elephants

Bhubaneswar: Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Forest, Environment and Climate Change Satyabrata Sahu has urged his counterpart in Tamil Nadu Supriya Sahu to supply trained kumki elephants to Odisha to be used for mitigating human-elephant conflicts.

Penning down a letter to ACS, Environment, Climate Change and Forest Department in TN Government, ACS Shri Sahu said, “In recent years we have been facing significant challenges in mitigating human-elephant conflicts. Your help in getting trained kumki elephants would greatly assist us in addressing these conflicts effectively and humanely.”

Kumki elephants can be deployed strategically to help the State Government to manage and drive wild elephants thereby reducing damage to crops, human habitations and the potential loss of both human and elephant lives. These elephants can also be deployed for forest patrolling and rescue operations, he pointed out.

Understanding that Tamil Nadu has a successful and commendable program in place, whereby kumki elephants are trained and utilized for wildlife conservation purposes, the ACS requested Supriya to provide four kumki elephants for deployment in conflict prone areas of Odisha.

“These elephants will serve as an invaluable asset to our State’s Wildlife Organization, aiding our efforts to minimize conflicts and safeguard both human and wildlife interests,” he noted.

Shri Sahu also requested that the manouts taking care of those kumki elephants may also be deputed along with the elephants, for only initial handholding support to local mahouts to get them acquainted with those kumki elephants.

In light of the urgency and magnitude of the human-elephant conflict issue in Odisha, he requested for prompt consideration of this proposal.

“Your support will significantly contribute to our ongoing conservation efforts and prove instrumental in mitigating wildlife conflicts in Odisha. Your favourable response is awaited,” Shri Sahu wrote to ACS Smt.Sahu.

The State Forest Department has also initiated a process to train local elephants to ward off man-animal conflict in forested pockets of the State.

In the initial phase, five elephants from Kapilash will be brought to Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar to receive Kumki training, informed Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Wildlife Susanta Nanda.

The trained elephants are needed to mitigate man-animal conflict. The State Government is planning to impart training to elephants initially at four places — Chandaka, Satkosia, Kapilash and Similipal. Later, the training will be arranged at Debrigarh Sanctuary too, he said.

The Department has drawn up a special blueprint to mitigate the man-animal conflict, Chief Wildlife Warden Shri Nanda added.