Bhubaneswar: As man-elephant conflict & poaching activities continue to drive up elephant fatalities across the State, Odisha Forest Department has issued guidelines on elephant monitoring mechanism. Moreover, the state is also planning to set up 24X7 control rooms across different forest ranges.
As per the new guidelines, movement of elephants will be monitored in every range and the concerned Range Officer will be entrusted with the responsibility of the same. On a daily basis, every beat Forest Guard and section Forester has to report to their concerned Range Officer about the movement of elephants as well their intrusion or disappearance in their jurisdiction. Based on the report, the Range Officer has to deploy squads and forest guards in the areas.
According to sources, the State government is planning to set up control rooms at division, circle and headquarter levels that will operate round the clock. In a letter to all DFOs, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) informed that a control room is being set up at the head office level and the starting date shall be intimated to concerned authorities soon.
“Though we have control rooms in different divisions, now we want to set up a control room in every range. The main aim of setting up control rooms is to gather and share information regarding the movement of elephants. Certain rules have been defined and people who violate the rules will be held responsible,” informed Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW), Hari Shankar Upadhyay.
As per reports, 80 elephant deaths were reported in 2019 across the State, while in 2020 so far, 16 fatalities have been reported. On the other hand, 117 human casualties were reported in 2019 due to elephant attack while the figure for 2020 so far is 17.