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As many as 406 elephants die in last five years in Odisha

Arukh said the government has formed three elephant conservation projects —Mayurbhanja, Sambalpur, and Mahanadi elephant conservation projects to check the deaths of elephants.

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 7 (UNI) As many as 406 elephants have died in Odisha during the last five years, State Minister of Forest, Environment and Climate change Bikram Keshari Arukh told the state Assembly Monday.

Replying to a question of Suresh Kumar Routray (Cong), the Minister said out of 406 elephants while 162 died due to accidents 11 were killed by poachers during 2016-17 to 2020-21. Arukh said out of 162 accidental deaths while 14 died in train accidents, 4 in road accidents, 54 in electrocution and 90 for other reasons.

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Arukh said the government has formed three elephant conservation projects —Mayurbhanja, Sambalpur, and Mahanadi elephant conservation projects to check the deaths of elephants.

The government has dug ponds, developed meadows, undertaken plantation drives and made provisions for salt lick in various animal habitats, and traditional elephant corridors.

He said the villagers residing close to forest are being informed about the movement of elephants through Elephant Monitoring App and free telephone service is working round the clock in control rooms opened in all the offices of the Regional Chief Conservator, Divisional and forest Range offices.

Coordination meeting with the officials of the energy department, Railways, state works department and National Highway Authority of India is being held frequently and preventive steps are being taken
to prevent accidental death of elephants.

He said field officials and anti-poaching staff are deployed in strategic places to prevent poaching of elephants. Drone and watchtowers are being used to keep a strict vigil on the elephant habitats, their movements and on the movement of poachers.

The Minister said a crime cell under the CID Crime branch has been constituted to investigate and take action on important cases.
The government, Arukh said has a plan for radio-collaring the elephants creating problems to monitor their movement, set up an elephant rescue center, chalk out a strategy with the consultation
of the people and to strengthen the facilities for the treatment of wild animals.

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