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Orissa's rich wildlife under threat

Orissa has lost 570 elephants in the last two decades mainly due to poaching and electrocution.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2010 12:04 IST

Orissa has lost 570 elephants in the last two decades mainly due to poaching and electrocution.

While poachers have killed 231 elephants during the period, 155 got electrocuted and 339 died due to various other reasons.

Wildlife activist Biswajit Mohanty, however, alleged that at least 386 elephants had died due to electrocution and poaching in the last 19 years because of the "callous" attitude of the authorities.

The recent mass killing of elephants in the protected Simlipal Tiger Reserve shows how local staff concealed and even destroyed bodies of dead elephants, claimed Mohanty.

On frequent electrocution of elephants, Forest Secretary Arabindo Behera said, "A close coordination is required between forest and energy departments to avoid such accidental death of elephants."

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also in charge of forest and environment, said, "It is a matter of great concern for the state."

Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh Minister has sought the chief minister's intervention in the issue.

"The state has identified corridors for elephants and chalked out an elephant management plan to ensure that the big animals do not feel threatened," Patnaik said.