Bhubaneswar: Loss of habitat coupled with human interference is fast-emerging as threat to elephant population in Odisha with as many 618 pachyderms perishing in the State since past eight years.
This disturbing trend has come to the fore even as the State observes World Elephant day today
This year, 22 elephants were reported dead in the State so far with the perceived threat to the animals becoming a cause of bother for forest personnel and conservationists.
Odisha is virtually turning into a graveyard for elephants. The measures on part of government agencies are left much to be desired, felt wildlife activist and Secretary Wildlife Society of Odisha (WSO), Biswajit Mohanty.
During the last seven years, the mortality rate has ranged from 56 to 83 per year. The increasing trend of elephant mortality is being witnessed over the years. While it was 74 per year from April 2020 –December 2017, the 2000-2010 decade had accounted for year on average. The figure on the other hand stood at 33 per year during 1990-2000 year, electrocution and
Over a period of a decade from 1990-2000, 333 elephant deaths were recorded. The period spanning from 2000-2017 year however witnessed as many as 1,040 deaths of pachyderms. Since past 26 years, as many as 1,373 elephants died in the state. The mortality rate is registering sharp rise. Since past seven years, 41% of total elephants’ death has been recorded while it should have been 27%.
Multiplicity of factors like habitat loss following mining and industrialization, encroachment and deforestation of elephants’ corridors, poaching and conflict with humans, electrocution and train mishap related deaths are contributing towards Odisha turning into graveyard of elephants.
Odisha is home to 1976 elephants in 44 forest divisions of the state as per the latest census.
The government needs to initiate urgent measure to save the national heritage animal, wildlife activists opined.