Vikash Sharma

There is a lot of buzz these days over wildlife conservation which is certainly essential as humans cannot exist without nature and wildlife. World Wildlife Day is celebrated on March 3, and this year’s theme is "Partnerships for wildlife conservation", honouring the people who are making a difference.

Odisha, which is considered ‘India’s best kept secret’, is known for its rich eco-system and unique biodiversity and wildlife. The State is home to many endangered animals- be it Irawady dolphins, Olive Ridley turtles, Pangolins or the Royal Bengal Tigers. Odisha also has a considerable population of elephants.

Recently, in February, the sighting of two Royal Bengal Tigers in two different places brought cheers to the faces of people of Odisha. The photograph of a tiger coming from neighbouring Chhattisgarh was taken in Debrigarh sanctuary in Sambalpur district while another a big cat from Similipal was found roaming in Rangmatia forest in Keonjhar district.

However, what is concerning the wildlife lovers and activists is the rampant poaching activities in different parts of Odisha.

Also Read: Odisha Wildlife STF Recovers Skeletal Remains Of Elephant, PCCF Orders Probe

Pradip Kumar Amat, Minister Forest and Environment on February 28 informed Odisha Assembly that no tiger death was reported in three years between 2019-20 and 2021-22. However, 245 elephant deaths were reported between the same period and six jumbos fell prey to poaching.

Highest 16 elephant tusks have been seized from Keonjhar district alone. The Minister further informed that 47 persons were arrested on the charges of elephant poaching and ivory smuggling. A total of 39 tusks, 1 tiger skin have also been recovered.

It is pertinent to mention here that there has been a rise in poaching activities in the state.

Crackdown by Special Task Force In 2022

The Special Task Force (STF) registered around 31 Cases in 2022. The STF seized 14 leopard skins, one Royal Bengal Tiger skin, one leopard skin, nine live pangolins, 22 kilograms of pangolin scale, 14 elephant tusks, two leopard teeth, 29 leopard claws, and 46 live wild parrots in 2022.

Apart from elephants and leopards and other big cats, concerns are also being expressed over the protection of pangolins in the state. A racket having international links has always been suspected after recovery of pangolin scales in the state. However, a complete crackdown on the illegal trade of the wildlife product in Odisha has not been possible so far.

Also Read: Odisha STF busts Royal Bengal Tiger hide smuggling racket, one held