What’s the news?
- The Odisha government has come up with a ‘comprehensive action plan for conservation of elephants and mitigation of human-elephant conflict’, a zonation approach to maintain a long-term viable population of 1700-1800 elephants in the State.
- According to the plan, steps will be taken to minimize the incidence of human-elephant conflict and consequent death of humans and elephants.
What Strategy is being followed?
- In the past nine years, Odisha has lost close to 700 elephants, while the human deaths in human-elephant encounters have reached a figure of 860. To mitigate the issue, State has been divided into four zones which are as follows:
- Zone I : It will be ‘Elephant Conservation Zone’, which is three elephant reserves. The State Forest and Environment department will give strict protection, ensure no change in land-use, improve habitat quality and retain the optimum number of elephants within them throughout the year.
- Zone II : It will be treated as a co-existence zone, intending to increase habitat quality and viability and reduce conflict through long- term strategies, discourage destructive land-use practices, promote scientific eco-restoration of degraded forests and encourage wildlife-friendly land-use, thereby inducing elephants to stay within such areas for a year-long.
- Zone III : It will be a Conflict Mitigation Zone where steps will be taken to reduce conflict through short-term strategies, minimize human and elephant deaths and to retain a minimum viable number of elephants as per social carrying capacity.
- Zone IV : It will be a “no-go area for elephants”. The jumbos straying in this zone to be captured and translocated forthwith to identified locations.
- Power distribution companies would ensure frequent patrolling in vulnerable locations to check illegal hooking and take necessary legal action against the offenders.
- Bare conductors in elephant movement areas would be well insulated as part of preventive measures to check elephant electrocution deaths.