Expressing concern over the rising number of elephant deaths in Odisha, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged his cabinet colleague Bhupender Yadav, who holds the environment, forest and climate change portfolio at the Centre, to take necessary action to curb man-jumbo conflicts in the state.
In a letter to Yadav, the education minister noted that Odisha has lost 245 elephants in the last three years. "I am writing to you with deep concern over the escalating number of elephant deaths, and straining elephant-human conflict in the state of Odisha," Pradhan stated.
March alone has witnessed seven jumbo deaths, the latest one in Satkosia sanctuary, he said. "Most deaths occurred due to poaching, electrocution, train or road accidents," Pradhan said.
"It was also recently noted in the assembly that a total 2,776 wild animals have been killed in the past five years (2017-18 to 2021-22) in Odisha, including 416 elephants. It is also worth mentioning that 669 people and 741 domestic animals died, and 9,151 houses were damaged in elephant attacks," he wrote.
Elephant conservation is of paramount importance in Odisha, as these majestic animals are an integral part of our ecological balance, cultural heritage, and the state's identity, the minister maintained. The well-being of these creatures is essential for maintaining the health of our forests and the livelihood of local communities that rely on them, Pradhan said.
"Considering the critical situation in Odisha, we believe that the ministry of environment, forest, and climate change's intervention is vital. I request you to take immediate action in addressing this pressing issue to ensure the harmonious coexistence of humans and elephants in Odisha. I look forward to your prompt intervention in this matter," he added.