Does Odisha need to be extra cautious to save its wild animals?

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | August 09, 2023 IST

Dead elephant

Bhubaneswar, Aug 9: If jumbos being killed or injured by speeding trains in Odisha in recent years, have invited criticisms from various quarters including environmentalists and animal lovers, then there was one more shocking news from the state's Ganjam district on Wednesday.

According to reports, hit by an unidentified vehicle near Mujagada village under North Ghumsur forest range in Ganjam district on wee hours of Wednesday, a leopard reportedly succumbed to its injuries on way to the nearest veterinary hospital in Bhanjanagar.

However, regular deaths of wild animals after being hit by trains or getting injured by speeding vehicles on roads in the forest areas of Odisha, have often being severely condemned.

With poachers having their lion's share in the process of elimination of wild animals from Odisha forests, the fauna number is deteriorating bit too fast from the state's green zone. Despite all tall claims and efforts to preserve wild animals, the number is dipping fast rather alarmingly. 

From elephants to tigers, statistics reveal that wild animals in woods of Odisha need more protection, care and freedom to survive. They need their free space and environment to breathe easy in their respective territories. But large scale hunting of wild animals in the state and regular accidents in recent years have reduced their numbers consistently, lament environmentalists.

Earlier in February this year, Forest and Environment Minister Pradip Kumar Amat had stated in the Odisha Assembly that in the last three years, 245 elephants died in the state. He however, added that there was no report of any tiger death during that period.

Replying to a query by BJD MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, the minister had stated that of the 245 elephants, only six died due to poaching. The state government arrested 47 persons for their alleged involvement in killing of tuskers and smuggling tusks. Amat had also informed that 30 tusks, nine tiger nails were seized and recovered from the arrested.

But environmentalists and animal conservationists have often alleged that there are a number of wild animal deaths not being reported. The actual figures are much more than records reveal, they lament.  

It can be recalled that the recent tiger census conducted by the Centre revealed that the number of tigers have decreased from 28 to 20 in Odisha. Of course, the state government countered that the number would actually be far more than claimed and the state agencies would conduct a separate tiger census soon.

All said and done, its bitter truth that wild animals in Odisha forests need more protection, support and care to survive and maintain their existence, argue animal protection activists and those working for forest and wild life conservation. 

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