17 elephant deaths in Odisha’s Ganjam district this year

Berhampur: Has Odisha's Ganjam district become a graveyard for elephants? One can presume so going by the number of jumbo deaths this year.

Altogether 17 elephants were killed in the district, the latest being at Sabalaya under Khallikote forest range where six were killed when they were hit by a train yesterday.

Of the elephants killed, nine were females, three males and five calves. The deaths were reported from the forest ranges of Muzagada, Khallikote, Buguda, Gallery and Tarsingi, official sources said.

While seven were killed on railway tracks, six died of electrocution and the others to disease or old age, they said.

A female elephant and its two-month-old calf died of electrocution at Kanakhai forests in Khallikote forest range on October 7.

Another female elephant and its male calf died after coming into contact with electric wires laid by poachers at Karadabani forests under Gallery range in Ghumusar (North) division on October 6.

A tusker died of electrocution at Karchuli jungle in Buguda range on September 26.

The elephants had migrated from the Chandaka elephant sanctuary near Bhubaneswar and from Gajapati district to forests in Ganjam in search of food.

Following the deaths, forest officials said they were tracking the elephants for informing people in nearby areas and the railways.

Additional staff have been deployed to patrol forests.

"We have also sensitised the people to ensure safety of the wild animals," divisional forest officer, Berhampur, SS Mishra said.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Ghumusar (North), K C Mishra said that patrols have been doubled by engaging more people on contract.

"We have also declared rewards for information about laying of electric wires in jungles for poaching," he said.