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Bhubaneswar: The population of elephants in the state has increased from 1954 in 2015 to 1976 now, despite the death of 159 jumbos due to various reasons during this period.
Forest and environment minister Bijayshree Routray Monday released the 2017 Elephant Census conducted jointly by Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal from May 9 to June 12 this year.
He said the number of pachyderms increased by 22 in the state as against the figure reported in the 2015 census.
Out of the total jumbo population, 344 are tuskers, while 1,092 are cow elephants and 502 young elephants or calves. The sex of 38 elephants could not be determined during the census. In terms of sex, the male elephant number has risen by three but the female number fell by four.
The number of young elephants rose by 12.
Though the census was conducted in 43 wildlife divisions, no elephant was found in six divisions — Khariar, Chilika, city forest division, Koraput, Jharsuguda and Bargarh.
Similarly, 1,536 elephants were found in the three elephant reserves of Mayurbhanj, Mahanadi and Sambalpur, which accounted for 77.73 per cent of the total jumbo population in the state.
There are 79 elephants in another five sanctuaries, the minister said. Significantly, as many as 361 elephants are living outside the elephant reserves (ERs) and sanctuaries, which showed that about 18 per cent of the jumbos in the state lives outside the protected areas.
In the 2105 census, the number of elephants outside the protected areas was 402, or 20 per cent. A majority of the elephants living outside the reserved areas are female (193). The census report showed that the core area of the Similipal reserve was home to the highest number of 330 elephants, followed by 169 in the Dhenkanal forest division.
The minister said as many as 311 elephants died in the state in the last five years, of which 27 deaths occurred in the past three months. As many as 5,847 regular field personnel were engaged for the census operation in which researchers, wildlife experts and NGOs took part.