Dhenkanal worst-hit in man-elephant conflict (Odisha, India)


The Hindu

Date Published

Dhenkanal has emerged as the worst-hit district in man-elephant conflict in Odisha as 70 people have died in attack by pachyderms in the past five years.

Odisha’s Forest and Environment department on Tuesday informed the State Assembly that of 354 human deaths, 70 were reported from Dhenkanal followed by Keonjhar (48).

Rourkela and Angul were forest divisions where 31 and 26 people were killed by marauding elephants in past five years. In Dhenkanal, seven elephants were electrocuted during past four years, said State Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha in reply to different queries in the Assembly.

Since 2010, deaths of 402 elephants and 354 persons have been reported. It shows how critical human-elephant conflict is.

Eighty-nine elephants were found to have perished due to disease while electrocution claimed lives of 64 elephants. As many as 38 elephants were deliberately electrocuted. Wildlife department could not find conclusive evidence about nature of deaths in case of 85 elephants. It, however, admitted that 50 jumbos were killed due to poaching and poisoning. Since 2010, 16 elephants have died in accident on railway track and roads.

As elephants frequently come out from forests, ready to harvest crops have been damaged in over 64,394 acres of land in past year. Marauding elephants demolished 4,650 houses. The State government had to cough up Rs.45.71 crore to compensate loss of life, crop, house and cattle in elephant attacks. Mr. Arukha said the State government was creating new water-bodies, restoring old ones and creating fodder source for elephants in order to check their death. The government had also undertaken a five-year programme to develop 14 elephant corridors in the State, the Minister informed. In order to prevent electrocution, power distribution companies have been instructed to improve their infrastructure.