Bhubaneswar, Dec 17 (Odisha.in) The survivals of elephants-the most revered animals are under threat
in Odisha from the poachers as well as from the sagging power lines, an wildlife expert said here on Monday.
Since January, 2012 deaths of 71 elephants have been reported in the state out of which only 22 are reported to be due to natural causes, Biswajit Mohanty, a member of National Board for Wildlife and
secretary of the wild life society of Odisha, told Odisha.in.
Excluding the 6 deaths by trains, 43 elephants died due to electrocution, poaching, poisoning and for unknown reasons, he pointed out.
The wild life department has admitted to the death of 18 elephants during this year due to poaching. It is surprising that not a single forest officials has been suspended or faced departmental proceedings for these cases which indicates a sad failure of governance, he said.
Many cases of poaching of tuskers are now being passed off as deaths of female elephants in order to shirk responsibility for poaching.
Often newspapers report say that the dead elephant was a male while the official report describes it as a female. This lack of transparency is fostering suspicion in public mind that the department is under reporting the true poaching cases to avoid public outcry, he said.
A senior state wild life official said the government has set up a joint committee to monitor the deaths of elephants but Mohanty said the government is not doing enough.
There is an ongoing merciless slaughter of elephants all across the state by poachers, deliberate electrocution and irresponsible power companies, he said. Sagging power lines left unattended to have taken a heavy toll of
elephants in the state.
These deaths were entirely avoidable had the chiefs of power distributions companies been arrested and booked under the wildlife laws for willful negligence since they failed to comply with electricity rules to maintain the minimum power line height, he said.
Mohanty said wild life activists have been bringing up this issue with the state wildlife wing since the last seven years without any headway. If the government does not necessary steps urgently, we may lose more elephants in the coming days, he said.