Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], May 31 (ANI): Considering the present forest spread and elephant population in Odisha, the state government has decided to adopt a 'focused intervention approach' for the development of elephant habitats and to build a world-class veterinary hospital.
The decision was taken in the state-level meeting on 'Elephant protection and conservation in Odisha' held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy on Saturday.
As per the statement by the government, the veterinary wildlife hospital has been decided to be built in the Chandka forest area, which could be developed to a centre of excellence with advanced knowledge, equipment, research and development activities.
The meeting was resolved to intensify elephant protection and conservation activities in elephant habitats like Mahanadi, Mayurbhanj and Sambalpur reserves spreading over around 8,509 square kilometres.
Additional Chief Secretary, Dr Mona Sharma appraised about the existing 14 elephant corridors, and it was decided to further develop two corridors namely Similipal-Hadgarh and Barunai-Nuagada corridors and three underpasses on NH-55 in Dhenkanal, Redhakhol and Athmallik forest divisions to save elephants from traffic accidents.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Harisankar Upadhaya appraised that as per a study conducted by the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation Center for Ecological Sciences of IIS, Bengaluru, around 1,700-1,800 elephants can be sustainably managed within larger forest landscapes of Odisha.
The elephant population in Odisha has shown an upward trend during the last seven years. In 1999, the total tusker population was around 1,827, which grew to 1,862 and 1,930 in 2007 and 2012 respectively, and further to 1,976 in 2017. (ANI)