As many as 386 census units, each comprising three personnel, would undertake the extensive survey. In all, 241 ‘machans’ would be set up for direct sighting of elephants.
Rourkela Forest Circle comprises Sundargarh, Bonai and Rourkela forest divisions in Sundargarh district, Keonjhar Forest Division and Keonjhar Wildlife Division in Keonjhar district and Deogarh Forest Division in Deogarh district.
Regional Chief Conservator of Forests (RCCF) Lingaraj Otta said census would be helpful in protection of elephants, improvement of elephant habitats and corridors and reducing man-elephant conflict.
Credible enumeration of resident and migratory elephants would be of immense importance for effective elephant management as wild elephants are forced to migrate from their natural habitats due to man-made stressful conditions in forests.
Otta pointed out that due to disturbances in the vast Saranda forest in Jharkhand territory, several herds of elephants at various points of time intrude into pockets under Rourkela and Bonai forest divisions.
Rourkela Forest Division is worst affected by increased intrusion of Jharkhand-based elephants.
Rourkela Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sanjeet Kumar said during day, the trained staff would collect signs likes dungs, footprints and others.
After 4 pm, they would position themselves on ‘machans’ for direct sighting of elephants.
Necessary care would be taken to prevent over-estimation and repetition of the elephant population, he added.
After compiling and analysing the collected data at the divisional level, a final report would be sent to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden for approval.
According to the 2012 Census, Rourkela circle had 227 resident elephants. A series of training programmes is also being conducted for enumeration personnel.