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Rourkela: The elephant population in Sundargarh district has increased by only six in last two years, according to a report released by the forest and environment department Monday.
As per the elephant census in 2015, there were 114 jumbos in Sundargarh which has increased to 120. Elephant census in 43 wild life divisions of the state was completed in May 2017 and the report was released by forest and environment minister Bijayshree Routray.
Elephants in the district were spotted in Sundargarh, Bonai and Rourkela forest divisions, sources in the regional office of the chief conservator of forest here revealed.
According to reports, Bonai forest division has the maximum number of elephants – 59, of which 14 were male, 38 female and seven were calves.
Likewise, Rourkela has 26 elephants of which two were male, 21 female and 10 calves. The gender of two elephants couldn’t be detected there.
In Sundargarh forest division, there were 26 pachyderms. Of them, nine were male, 12 female and five calves. The three forest divisions have 19 ranges – 7 in Bonai and six each in Rourkela and Sundargarh.
Bonai, Sola, Jarda, Tamada, Kuliposh, Barsuan and Kodai ranges come under Bonari forest division while Panposh, Biramitrapur, Kuanrmunda, Bishra, Banki and Rajgangpur come under Rourkela division. Gopalpur, Ujjwalpur, Hemgiri, Lefripada, Bargaon and Sundargarh ranges com under Sundargarh forest division.
Tree houses were set up and the services of regular field staff, non-government organisations and locals were sought for the 2017 jumbo census, it was learnt.
Several people as well as elephants have lost their lives in man-animal conflict in the district over the years.
The forest department has taken some significant measures to prevent the conflict, officials said.
The department had taken all precaution near Kamar and Brahmana hills near the city as these two hills are a habitat of elephants. Similarly, solar fences were erected along the banks of river Koel as elephants often sneak into the city through this route, officials added.