COIMBATORE: In a revelation that would shock animal lovers, as many as 1160 wild elephants died due to several reasons such as being hit by trains, electrocution and poaching across the country in the last ten years till December 2020.
K Muthamizh Selvan, Scientist 'D' (Project Elephant), Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, gave these details in his reply to an RTI query filed by Tenkasi based RTI activist R Pandiraja.
"A total of 186 wild elephants died after being hit by trains across the country till 31 December 2020. Assam recorded the highest death of 62 elephants while Tamil Nadu reported five. Of the five, one died in 2009-10, two each died in 2012-13 and 2016-17 respectively. As many as 741 wild elephants were electrocuted with Odisha recorded the highest number of 133 and Tamil Nadu 93. The highest number of electrocution reported in Tamil Nadu was 15 on 2019-20," the RTI reply stated.
"169 elephants were poached, of which nine are from Tamil Nadu. Odisha is at the top with 49 poaching deaths. No poaching case was reported in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019 in Tamil Nadu. Likewise, 32 wild elephants were poisoned to death in Assam and one in Tamil Nadu reported in 2009-10," the RTI replied.
"If an elephant dies, it's equal to the destruction of forest and leads to ruining the life of wild animals. Both Central and State governments should take proactive steps to stop such incidents," Pandiraja said.
The RTI also revealed that the country had 29,964 wild elephants as census conducted in 2017. Karnataka tops the list with 6049 elephants. There were 2761 elephants in Tamil Nadu. The MOEF spent `212.5 crore towards elephant conservation in the said period, the statement revealed.