BHUBANESWAR: Despite claiming to have taken several steps to stop poaching of elephants in the State, at least 35 elephants were killed by poachers in Odisha since 2010-11.
Forest and environment minister Bikram Arukha admitted this in a written reply to a question from Dilip Ray and Bibhuti Bhusan Harichandan (both BJP) in the assembly today.
The minister said 402 elephants died in Odisha during 2010-11 to 2015-16. While 15 elephants were killed due to poisoning, 38 died because of deliberate electrocution during the period. Besides, 26 elephants died due to accidental eletrocution while 16 were killed in train and road accidents.
While highest 10 elephants fell prey to poachers in 2013-14, at least three jumbos were killed by poachers till December 2 this year, Arukha said.
Similarly, 37 elephants have died due to natural causes like infighting and falling from hill tops during the same period, he said and added the reason for the death of 85 elephants were not yet known. While 61 elephants died natural deaths from 2010-11 till December 2, 2015, as many as 89 jumbos died of different diseases, he said.
Similarly, in a span of five years till November, 2015, the minister said 345 people were killed and 161 injured after being attacked by elephants. He said there are 1954 elephants in the state as per the 2015 census.