03 August, 2021

Graveyard Of Elephants

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Graveyard Of Elephants

Forest and environment minister Bikram Keshari Arukh was only stating the obvious when he revealed in the Odisha assembly on February 18 that 247 elephants have perished in the state in just the past three years. In reply to a question in the assembly last March, Arukh had said that 732 pachyderms died between 2009-10 and 2019-20, which works out to an annual average of a staggering 73, mostly due to avoidable causes. Deaths due to electrocution, for example, numbered 119 during this 10-year period, the minister had told the assembly last November.

Deaths due to natural causes are only a minuscule part of the total casualties. The other major unnatural causes of death are poaching, diseases and train or road accidents, with poaching accounting for the highest number of casualties. As per figures released last October by the Wildlife Society of Odisha (WSO), which maintains a meticulous record of deaths caused by human-elephant conflict, no less than 166 of the 694 elephant deaths in the period from April 1, 2010, to October 2019 were due to poaching. Records show that...

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