Bhubaneswar: Altogether 245 wild elephants died of unnatural causes in Odisha in just three years, senior Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja said in the Assembly Wednesday and demanded action against those responsible for their deaths.
The lawmaker from Kantabanji in Bolangir district attacked the BJD government during the Zero Hour for its alleged lack of concern for the safety of the pachyderms.
“As many as 245 elephants died in just three years. It indicates that these animals are not safe in Odisha,” Saluja said.
A total of 784 elephants died in 10 years, he pointed out.
While 82 jumbos died in 2019-20, the figure was 77 in 2020-21 and 86 in 2021-22, the MLA said adding that the reasons for their deaths are road and rail accidents, poaching and others.
“Recently, skeletal remains of elephants were exhumed in Athagarh forest division (in Cuttack district). This means these pachyderms were poached for their tusks before being buried. The tusks are being sold in foreign countries,” Saluja alleged.
He sought to know the measures taken by the state government for the safety of elephants as well as their corridors.
“We demand that the government carry out an investigation and take stringent action against the poachers,” he said.
A special investigation team (SIT) has been formed to probe into the recovery of skeletal remains of elephants from the Athagarh forest division, official sources said.
Meanwhile, a report from Dhenkanal district said that an elephant died of electrocution at Asarada forest under Hindola Range on Wednesday. The 20-year-old animal was electrocuted after coming in contact with a wire fence laid down for wild boars.
In a related incident, a jumbo trampled a resident of Karnapur village under Hindola Range in Dhenkanal district to death during the day when he went to attend to the call of nature, officials said.