BHUBANESWAR: Taking cognisance of the death of the tusker due to gunshot injuries in Athagarh forest division, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has asked the State government to take stringent action in the matter and submit an action taken report at the earliest.
The Ministry has asked the State Forest and Environment department to probe the incident and take strict action as per the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
Scientist 'D' of the Project Elephant Division of MoEFCC Dr K Muthamizh Selvan in a letter to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden Sashi Paul said as per the information the tusker was shot at five to six places on its body including head, trunk and leg.
Notably, the 10-year-old tusker with multiple pellet injuries, battled for his life for a week and finally died on Tuesday. Forest officials had admitted that its treatment started a fortnight after it sustained pellet wounds.
Besides it was provided proper veterinary care after Baramba-Narasinghpur MLA Debi Prasad Mishra flagged the issue on Facebook.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed strong concern over the death of the elephant due to gunshot wounds. He also expressed concern over rising number of elephant deaths in Odisha due to poaching and other reasons and inaction of the State government in providing a safe habitat to the gentle giants.
Elephant is our heritage animal and has been given the highest protection under WLP Act. The Ministry has taken cognisance of the incident and the matter has been taken up with the state govt for strict action against the poachers to ensure protection of our wildlife heritage. https://t.co/AIRqj7UNGQ— Bhupender Yadav (@byadavbjp) June 15, 2022
"The death of a wounded tusker, shot by poachers in Athagarh forest is distressing for all wildlife enthusiasts. This is not just a one-off incident in Odisha. As per media reports 947 elephants have died due to poaching, poisoning, electrocution and accidents in the last 12 years," Pradhan tweeted while terming it a matter of grave concern.
The Union Cabinet Minister also sought action in this matter from the State government without further delay.
Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav, in response to Pradhan's tweet, said the Ministry has taken cognisance of the Athagarh elephant death incident and the matter has been taken up with the State government.