Vikash Sharma

The third Friday of May is observed as the National Endangered Species Day. This year the National Endangered Species Day 2023 theme is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.

Retired Police DG BK Sharma said that Odisha is rich in flora and fauna, and a variety of species abound in our protected and even in non-protected areas. However, many of those species suffer a great amount of conservation pressure, said Sharma.

Endangered species list include- Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Gharial and Pangolins and elephants.

According to Sharma, poaching, trapping, ensnaring and revenge killing of elephants, leopards, snakes, tigers, birds and collection of antlers are rampant in Odisha. Elephants too regularly face intentional and accidental electrocution apart from train hits.

“Robust conservation measures with greater deterrence against organized poaching are the urgent measures that are needed to be taken,” said Sharma.

In Odisha, the population of endangered species is on a gradual decline, says wildlife expert Biswajit Mohanty.

According to Mohanty, everybody is aware of the fact that there is news regarding elephant deaths almost every week. There is also rampant smuggling of Pangolins in the state, he stated. All the endangered species in Odisha are highly threatened and are under threat due to poaching and loss of habitats, the wildlife expert said.

“Though Black Buck also comes under Schedule 1, the population is good in the state. It is due to protection measures of locals in Ganjam and adjacent areas with a population over 5000,” said Mohanty.

Why Such Scenario In Odisha?

According to Biswajit Mohanty, the forest officials in Odisha are not doing their jobs properly despite no dearth of funds, legal powers and manpower. The problem for protection of endangered animals is mainly due to lack of ‘zero accountability’.

Mohanty alleged that not a single poacher involved in poaching of tigers, elephant or leopard has been convicted in the last 30 years. Everything has been only limited to seizure and arrest, he claimed.

“Government need to fix accountability and dismiss officials for not doing their jobs and for not achieving conviction,” Mohanty added.