Odisha to set up elephant rehabilitation centre

Bhubaneswar: Odisha will soon have an elephant rehabilitation centre for conservation and protection of the jumbos, a senior official said.

The rehabilitation centre will help injured elephants and those who got separated from the herd, the official said.

Odisha Forest and Environment Minister BK Arukha has laid the foundation stone for the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Kumarkhunti in Chandaka-Dampada sanctuary close to the state capital on Monday.

The project will become a milestone in conservation and protection of elephants, the minister said, adding that arrangements have been made to complete the centre within three months.

The rehabilitation centre will be built in 10 hectare of land at an estimated expenditure of Rs 6 crore. The project has already been cleared by the Centre, the minister said.

“Elephants and their calves rescued from different places of the state will be kept in the rehabilitation centre and will be treated by experts and veterinary doctors,” the minister said.

The forest department will make arrangements for adequate food, water and lodging facilities for the elephants, said a senior Forest and Environment department official, adding that a laboratory facility will also be set up in the rehabilitation centre.

The rehabilitation centre is part of the Centres Project Elephant, said additional chief secretary, Forest and Environment Mona Sharma.

The rehabilitation centre is likely to help in reducing man elephant conflict in the state, said Chief Wildlife Warden Dr H Upadhaya. He said around 70 jumbos die due to different reasons in the state every year while nearly 100 people lost their lives in jumbo attack.

“Last year an elephant in Dhenkanal district had killed 12 people. The animal has been captured and kept in a mini-zoo type place in Kapilas. The upcoming rehabilitation centre can accommodate such type of animals,” Upadhaya said.

The official said that man-elephant conflict is mostly seen in Jajpur, Dhenkanal and Khurda forest divisions and the reasons behind this phenomenon are shrinking of forest cover, increasing activities near forests and human habitation close to elephant habitats.

He said as developmental activities are going to take place in future, such conflicts may also increase. Therefore, the rehabilitation centre for elephants could be a useful project, he said.

The state has an estimated 2,000 elephants, he said.

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