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Elephant deaths rampant in Orissa

 

THE HINDU
Bhubaneswar, October 31, 2012

Orissa, where kings were once addressed as ‘Gajpati’, is fast turning into a graveyard for elephants with 296 jumbos dying in the past five years.

Electrocution has been identified as the major cause of elephant deaths in the state, Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray said.

At least 116 elephants were electrocuted in the state in between 2000-01 and October 11, 2012.

While 46 of them were found to be deliberately killed by administering electric shock, 70 others died accidentally by coming into contact with hanging live electric wires.

Wildlife activist Biswajit Mohanty said the casualty rate was over 10 per year since 2008-09.This year 13 pachyderms have died, while 18 died in the previous year, forest officials said.

An analysis of elephant deaths in the last five years showed that while 26 jumbos died due to poaching, 16 were poisoned to death to prevent damage to crops. At least seven elephants were run over by trains while 16 more were killed in various other accidents.

Between 2008-09 to October 2012, 59 jumbos died due to diseases. During the same period, 29 elephants died due to deliberate electrocution while 32 died of accidental electrocution.

The Forest Minister held the Energy Department responsible for the large-scale jumbo electrocution, but Energy Minister Arun Sahu claimed, “It is the responsibility of the Forest and Environment Department to regularly inform the Energy Department about the elephant routes.”

 
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