Agartala: The Tripura government would set up an elephant reserve in the mountainous northeastern state to conserve wild elephants, a minister said here Wednesday.
"The wild elephants are disappearing due to poaching and other hazards, including dwindling of the natural habitats," Forest and Wildlife Affairs Minister Naresh Jamatia told IANS.
"The cabinet Tuesday decided to set up an elephant reserve at Gandhari and Attharamura hill ranges in Dhalai and Gomti districts -- covering an area of 123.84 sq km -- which have been the natural habitat of the wild elephants," Jamatia said.
The minister said the state government has chosen the mountainous areas to set up the elephant reserve so that tribal families would not be displaced to set up the reserve.
A high-level committee comprising officials, wild life experts, elected representatives and local people would be constituted to develop the elephant habitat with adequate natural forests and fodders.
"Due to the ever-dwindling forests and loss of habitats, the wild elephants have been invading areas of human habitation, often killing people, damaging crops and razing houses," Jamatia added.
According to the latest census, conducted a few years back by the State Board for Wild Life, the wild elephant-population in the state is around 60. The animal has been witnessing rapid decline over the last few years.
Forest officials last week recovered two elephant tusks and two severed heads of deer from the residence of one Rathindra Debbarma at Champahower areas in western Tripura.
Police said Debbarma, a former extremists, along with several others killed a wild elephant and removed the tusks for smuggling. He is now absconding.