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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Nearly 600 schools in Odisha district shut due to man-elephant conflict

Jajpur district education officer Krushna Chandra Nayak confirmed the closures saying, “The Collector ordered a shutdown of schools in three blocks of the district — Korei, Danagadi and Sukinda. We circulated the message immediately.”

Written by Sampad Patnaik | Bhubaneswar | Published: January 25, 2020 5:11:00 am
Odisha’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and Chief Wildlife Warden HS Upadhyay said the elephant is no longer in the vicinity and added that the situation is under control.

Around 600 schools in three blocks of Jajpur district remained closed on Friday a day after an elephant killed two people in the district.

Jajpur district education officer Krushna Chandra Nayak confirmed the closures saying, “The Collector ordered a shutdown of schools in three blocks of the district — Korei, Danagadi and Sukinda. We circulated the message immediately.”

Nayak said the decision was taken “purely as a precautionary measure”.  Police sources in the district confirmed Thursday’s incident involving the elephant.

Odisha’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and Chief Wildlife Warden HS Upadhyay said the elephant is no longer in the vicinity and added that the situation is under control.

The incident however, has led to concens among wildlife experts in the state. Former National Board for Wildlife member Biswajit Mohanty flagged man-elephant conflict as a very serious issue in the state.

In a written statement, Mohanty said, “In the last 9 months and 21 days, 100 humans have been killed in Odisha. This is a record for the state since last year, we lost only 92 people to elephant attacks. We have now acquired the dubious reputation of being the state which sees the highest number of human kills by elephants.”

According to data shared by Mohanty, also the secretary of the Wildlife Society of Odisha, over the past ten months, there have been 177 human-elephant encounters in which 100 people were killed and 102 people were injured.

Mohanty’s data from 2014 to 2020 also shows a sharp rise in human deaths and injuries since 2018.

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