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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Elephant population have increased by 22 in Odisha, informed Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray while releasing the 2017 elephant census report today.

The number of elephants in the State showed a marginal increase from 1,954 in 2015 to 1,976 in the current year, despite various cases of jumbo deaths across the State.

The census, conducted in 43 wildlife divisions, showed there were 1,536 elephants in three elephant reserves of Mayurbhanj, Mahanadi and Sambalpur, which accounted for 77.73 per cent of the total jumbo population in the state.

Similarly, five other sanctuaries have an elephant population of 79, while there were 361 elephants outside different elephant reserves and sanctuaries, Routray said.

Out of the total jumbo population, 344 were identified as tuskers, while 1,092 were females and 502 were young elephants or calves. The sex of 38 elephants could not be determined during the census operation, said the report.

The census report showed that the core area of the Similipal reserve was home to the highest number of 330 elephants, followed by 169 in Dhenkanal forest division, the minister said.

As many as 5,847 regular field personnel were engaged for the census operation in which researchers, wildlife experts and NGOs were also took part.

Experts were of the opinion that rise in jumbo population was significant as increase in their number took place despite death due to many reasons like mishap, electrocution and poaching.

With PTI inputs

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