The Odisha Minister of Forest and Environment Pradip Kumar Amat, the increasing conflict between humans and elephants have caused the loss of 925 human lives in the state over the past ten years.
Odisha human-animal conflicts
The man-elephant conflict claimed 925 human lives and left 212 others permanently disabled.
The minister stated in the Assembly that the number of elephant deaths has been increasing in the last two years. The state government has investigated 39 elephant deaths in the last ten years and filed charge sheets against 50 individuals. However, none of the accused has been convicted yet.
In the past three years, the state has reported human deaths in triple digits, with 117 deaths in 2019-20, 139 deaths in 2020-21, and 112 deaths in 2021-22.
However, the figures were comparatively lower in the preceding years, with 80 deaths in 2012-13, 67 deaths in 2013-14, 65 deaths in 2014-15, 89 deaths in 2015-16, and 66 deaths in 2016-17.
In addition, 51 people suffered permanent disabilities in 2021-22 due to conflicts with elephants, which was the highest number in the last decade.
The minister stated that several measures, including the development of meadows, restoration and rejuvenation of water bodies, prevention of forest fires, and establishment of anti-poaching camps, have been implemented to control human-elephant conflict.
The government is also focusing on regular forest patrolling and utilizing technology to track the movement of elephants.
Elephant deaths due to various causes
The minister explained that the recorded elephant deaths in Odisha over the past decade were due to various incidents, such as accidents, diseases, poaching, and electrocution, among others.
The report mentioned that the highest number of elephant deaths was in 2018-19, with 93 jumbo deaths reported in the state.
In the most recent years, 86 elephants died in Odisha in 2021-22, while 77 died in 2020-21.
SK Popli, the Chief Wildlife Warden and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) in Odisha, stated that the state government has been successful in maintaining the elephant population.
He added that they are implementing special measures to prevent the unnatural deaths of elephants, which are primarily caused by poaching, electrocution, and accidents.
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