Rashmi Rekha Das

Of late, Odisha has witnessed an alarming surge in elephant deaths which has raised serious questions about the State government’s elephant conservation plan. In another unfortunate incident, a tusker died after coming in contact with live wires at Jagannathpur under Satakosia wildlife sanctuary in Angul district, informed Regional Chief Conservator of Forest, Jogananda, on Saturday.

According to sources, poachers had laid live wires for hunting wild boars but a pachyderm fell prey to the trap and died. Locals informed forest officials after finding the elephant lying dead inside the sanctuary. 

Upon being informed, Satakosia Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Jogananda rushed to the spot and started an inquiry into it. 

"The exact reason behind the jumbo's death can be ascertained only after post-mortem. Primary investigation revealed that the pachyderm died of electrocution”, he said.  

On Wednesday, two female elephants had died after they came in contact with live electric power line on the premises of Krishi Vigyan Kendra under Sadar range in Keonjhar.

Animal activists blamed the lackadaisical attitude of the forest and electric department officials for the unfortunate death of two pachyderms. It is learned that Odisha witnessed death of three elephants in Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary in June.  

An elephant was found dead at Satkosia Kusakhali forest in Angul district on June 28. Before that, skeleton of an elephant was unearthed from the Gopapura forest range, Mandap Reserve forest in Badamba. Soon after the incident, the death of another ailing elephant at Satakosia sanctuary came to the fore.

In the same month, skeleton of another elephant was recovered from Gopapura forest range under Mandap Reserve forest in Badamba. It was exhumed by the Special Task Force (STF) which is a part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing into the discovery of elephant carcasses in Narasinghpur – Badamba forest range.

At a time when poachers are killing pachyderms with impunity, the State government’s alleged lack of concern for the safety of the elephants has disappointed animal activists. 

"Elephants are being shot by poachers in broad daylight. Some elephants have been gunned down while some die after coming in contact with live electric wires. The Odisha government has totally failed to protect elephants in the State," said a wildlife expert.