Rashmi Ranjan

The Commissionerate Police has seized ivory weighing around 3 kg and arrested two persons near Sainik School Square in Bhubaneswar in this connection on Sunday.

The accused have been identified as Girish Kumar Nayak and Deepak Sahu. The duo hails from Kandhamal district.

Acting on a tip-off regarding the illegal smuggling of the wildlife items, Maitri Vihar police conducted a patrolling near Sainik School square and apprehended the duo while they were smuggling the tusk on a moped.

The police have also seized three mobile phones and Rs 160 in cash from their possession, sources informed.

Later, the two accused were handed over to the forest ranger for initiation of further action under section 51 of wildlife protection act 1972.

It is worthwhile to mention here that, Odisha has witnessed a rise in the killing/deaths of elephants in the recent years.

In January, four hunters were arrested in connection with the poaching of an elephant in Talabandha wildlife range of Similipal National Park in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district. The poachers had killed the elephant and removed its tusks.

Elephant Deaths in Odisha

According to Forest and Environment minister Pradip Kumar Amat, Odisha recorded 245 elephant deaths in the last three years between 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22. 

The state witnessed highest 86 jumbo deaths in 2021 followed by 82 in 2019-20 and 77 in 2020-21 from 35 forest and wildlife divisions. 

Dhenkanal reported the highest 35 deaths during the three years period followed by Keonjhar (21) and Angul Satkosia wildlife divisions (12) and Athagarh (11).

(Reported by Alok Mohanty, OTV)