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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today claimed there has been a decline in elephant death cases in 2016-17 as compared to average death figures of the wild animal during past four years.

After an annual review meeting of the Forest and Environment department under chairmanship of the Chief Secretary at the State Secretariat here, Suresh Mohapatra, secretary of the department, said, “With two months left for the 2016-17 financial year to get over, 41 elephant deaths have been reported in the State so far which is considerable fall in comparison to 65-70 elephant death cases reported in the last four years on an average.”

He added, “Human casualties due to elephant attacks were also on an average 65 in the last four years.”

Seeing less cases of human-elephant conflict in next two months, Mohapatra stated, “As cropping season is over in this financial year, there are negligible chances of human-elephant conflict. Besides, cases of jumbo stray from Jharkhand side to some districts of Odisha have been prevented successfully.”

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The State government has engaged trackers and watchmen with required equipments in different parts of the state to monitor elephant movement and warn villagers in advance.

Mohapatra further said, “The State government has increased height of electric lines and bare conductors with funding from the Energy Department to ensure safety of pachyderms in elephant corridors. Besides, plantation and work on development of water bodies are going on in areas dedicated to jumbos.”

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He added, "Nature camps managed by Eco Development Committees at different places in the State are getting good responses with bookings from visitors worth Rs 1 crore in last November and December alone. Total 6,400 tourists have stayed so far in the nature camps set up by the Forest department and managed by the committees comprising locals."

The department is working on setting up nature camps idea in Daringbadi, Mangalajodi, Chilika, Bichitrapur of Balasore, Sanaghagara and Kanjipani in Keonjhar district looking at the response from visitors, Mohapatra informed.

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