Forest cover, wildlife worst hit by Cyclone Fani

Bhubaneswar: The fury unleashed by cyclone Fani has not only affected human lives but also wildlife and forest cover leaving a devastating trail.

“Nearly 80 per cent of the forest cover has been destroyed in cyclone Fani and the estimated loss will be in crores. Many animals fled to take shelter in nearby villages,” said DFO of Balukhand sanctuary, Harshvardhan Udgata.

Not only Balukhand sanctuary, Chandaka-Dampada sanctuary has also witnessed large scale damages with thousands of trees have been either uprooted or broken. While elephants—Nanda and Jashoda have been shifted to other location, there has been no confirmation on the safety of other animals.

Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) of Chandaka-Dampada sanctuary said, “Our top priority is to clear the roads so that patrolling parties and workers can move through the sanctuary and find out the number of animals that have suffered during the cyclone.”

Khurda’s Barunei hill, too, was not spared by cyclone which has damaged large swathes of precious trees like Teak said to be as old as 25 years.

Dilip Mohanty, ACF of Khurda Forest Division said, “More than 500 Teak trees have fallen due to cyclone Fani.”

As per the preliminary estimates, Balukhanda has incurred losses of Rs 25 crore, Nandankanan sanctuary Rs 7 crore and Chandaka-Dampada sanctuary Rs 2 crore.

After clearing the roads, making rest shades and drinking water arrangements for animals, visitors will be allowed inside Nandankanan Zoo, informed officials.