193 elephants died in Odisha in three years

Bhubaneswar, March 22 (IANS) A total of 193 elephants died in the last three years in Odisha despite several efforts by the government to protect the animals, the assembly was informed on Tuesday.

Replying to a question by Congress legislator Prakash Chandra Behera, Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh told the assembly that 70 elephants died in 2013-14, 55 in 2014-15 and 68 in 2015-16.

He said 47 elephants died due to diseases while 45 died due to unknown reasons.

As many as 41 elephants died due to poaching, poisoning, deliberate electrocution and accidental electrocution, he added.

The minister said the state government has taken a number of steps including development of habitations as well as digging of water bodies for the safe habitation of elephants in the state.

He said the forest department has erected stone walls and solar-powered fences in several sensitive places to deter the elephants from coming to human habitations.

Anti-poaching squads have been deployed to protect the elephants.

The minister said a five-year action plan is being implemented in the state from 2012 to develop 14 identified elephant corridors.

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