Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a tragic incident, a two-year-old elephant calf died after falling into a pit at Thakurani Reserve Forest near Bhejidihi village under Keonjhar Forest Division on Monday.

Sources said the pit was dug by the forest department for rainwater conservation.

The calf was seriously injured after falling into the pit. It finally succumbed to the injuries on Monday.

It is pertinent to mention here that a 12-member elephant herd was seen roaming in the area. After the death of the calf, people have raised concerns about the safety of the herd.

In March, the hide and bones of an elephant calf were recovered from Pampas forest range of Satkosia sanctuary in Angul district.

According to sources, the elephant calf was believed to be around eight-year-old.

Similarly, a five-year-old elephant calf was found dead in a forest near Badgad village under Karada range on Ganjam-Kandhamal border.

Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Pradip Amat had informed the State Assembly that 784 elephants have died in the last 10 years.

While 82 jumbos died in 2012-13, the figure was 86 in 2015-16, 93 in 2018-19 and 86 in 2021-22.

Similarly, 11 wild elephants were killed by poachers during 2022-23.

According to the last elephant census conducted in 2017, there are 1,976 elephants in Odisha.