Bhubaneswar: Poachers remained active in forests of Odisha, eliminating 73 elephants in last seven years since 2005 even as 157 people were arrested during the period on charge of killing wild animals.
While hunters killed 57 jumbos by using guns, 16 elephants were poisoned to death by the poachers during the same period.
"A total of 147 elephants have been killed since 2005," Forest and Environment minister Bijayshree Rout today told in the assembly in written replies.
Besides poachers, electrocution was another factor responsible for the huge casualty of elephants. "At least 68 elephants died due to electrocution in different jungles since 2005," Routray said.
Six other elephants were killed in train accidents, the minister said adding the state government had been working on strategies on how to reduce jumbo casualty.
"The state government has framed charges against persons responsible for the killing of elephants and used to take help of Crime Branch of Police to probe into cases related to elephant deaths," the minister said.
Meanwhile, replying another question, the minister said 78 elephants were killed in Keonjhar district alone in 12 years from 2001 to 2012.
While poachers killed eight elephants in Keonjhar district, 29 jumbos died due to electrocution followed by 16 deaths due to diseases, 10 due to unknown reasons, and seven died of accidents. Only eight elephants death was natural in a span of 12 years, the minister said.
The elephant census conducted in 2012 showed presence of 1862 elephants in Odisha jungles.