Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray on Tuesday informed the members in the Assembly that 250 elephants and 504 other wild animals have died in the State since 2009.
Routray said the State Government has filed 476 cases against 524 persons for deaths of the elephants and wild animals. Seven of these cases have been handed over to Crime Branch for inquiry, he said.
In a written reply to a question from Pratap Chandra Sarangi (Ind), Routray said while 20 of them died due to poaching, 16 died of poisoning and 28 were deliberately electrocuted. The Minister said 24 of them died of accidental electrocution while 11 died in accidents.
While the reasons behind the death of 51 jumbos are not known, seven died in train accidents. Only 41 had natural deaths while 54 succumbed to different diseases. The Minister the 504 dead wild animals included 132 spotted deer, 89 barking deer, 26 black bucks, 7 mouse deer, 58 wild boars and three tigers. He said 31 barking deer and 24 spotted deer were killed by poachers. However, 1,998 posts, including two posts of additional principal chief conservator of forests, are vacant in the Forest department.
The vacant posts include one chief conservator of forests (CCF), four conservator of forests (CFs), 11 district conservator of forests (DCFs), 133 assistant conservator of forests (ACFs), 196 forest rangers, 140 deputy rangers, 707 foresters and 804 forest guards.
Routray said the process to fill up vacancies at the level of DCFs by promotion have started. Besides, steps are being taken to fill up vacancies of ACFs and rangers through departmental promotion committee (DPC). He said direct recruitment of ACFs and forest rangers have not been possible as recruitment rules are yet to be finalised after upgradation of their posts to Group A and Group B respectively.