January 17, 2013

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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.

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

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* Regarding the steps taken for elephants death in Odisha
CAMPA aid to protect jumbos from electrocution :

- In the wake of increasing cases of elephant deaths, the State Government has sanctioned Rs 3 crore from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for fencing the electric poles with Anti-Climbing Devices (ACD) erected across the forest land in southern Orissa.

“At least 35 elephant corridors have been identified in Ganjam and Kandhmal districts including parts of Balugaon to protect the tuskers.
Around Rs 2.5 crore has been estimated by the Department of Energy to strengthen the electric poles besides and to fence forests with barbed wire,” said Reliance Energy Limited Vice-President Suresh Chandra Chaudhury.

The Executive Engineers of Berhampur, Chhatrapur, Bhanjanagar and Boudh suggested immediate launch of the programme.
Chaudhury further said ACD is a simple system of protecting electric poles from wild animals.
A wall of iron nails will be built around the poles so that the elephants would not touch them.

At times, the elephants rub their back against electric poles which get uprooted or bent.
Sometimes, live wire get snapped causing electrocution to wild animals as they come in contact with them, he added.
“We have drawn a map of elephant corridors in consultation with the Forest officials from different ranges,” he said. According to the plan of action, the Southco will fence the electric poles along the corridors.
The fencing will be made up to a height of seven feet so that the jumbos could not damage them while passing by.
Besides, the Forest Department has also proposed to upgrade electric wires by insulating them, said an official.
“Among the 19 elephants which died in 2012, at least eight succumbed due to electrocutions.

The Department has released Rs 3 crore to accelerate measures for the safety of endangered animals,” Berhampur Assistant Conservator of Forests Sayed Hanif said.
Earlier, the State had urged the Centre to release Rs 32 crore from the CAMPA fund to strengthen sagging power lines in the region where elephants come closer to human habitation.
Five elephants were run over by Coromandel Express train at Subalaya in Ganjam district December 30, 2012

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Mr. Gairik Chakroborty,
Honorary CEO,
Green Friends (Start Conservation From Today for Everyday).