BHUBANESWAR: It is not just anthrax which killed 16 elephants at Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in the past two and half years. Contrary to claims by officials at Similipal, information obtained under RTI revealed that out of the 16, only five died due to anthrax.
Despite repeated attempts, officials at Similipal Tiger Reserve could not be reached for their response. WSO data revealed that the forest department claimed deaths of 16 elephants in STR between December 2014 and March 25, 2017. Since 2010, 84 elephants have died in STR out of which only 26 deaths are attributed to poaching (both poisoning and use of weapon). The official record claimed 40 deaths as natural and 18 for unknown reasons.
Sources said the deaths of at least 39 elephants (within a span of 14 months – between April 2015 and June 12, 2016) could be discovered only after a week. Out of 39, six deaths came to the department’s notice only after a month and three deaths after four months. The decomposed carcasses were not in a state that the cause of deaths could be ascertained.
The 39 carcasses were found in Keonjhar, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Deogarh, Kandhamal, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj districts. STR is in Mayurbhanj.