poaching of elephants is increasing at a sharp rate in the forests of Orissa. Not even a month passes without a number of elephants falling victims to the poachers. According to government officials, they were 1,827 elephants in the beginning of 1999 but now, there are just 1700 of them left. Some of the most susceptible poaching areas of the state are Narasinghpur, Badamba, Athamallik, Baripada and Nilgiri. The Satakosia Sanctuary which was home to more than 1,000 elephants a few years ago has only around 600 now.
Last month, a group of eight poachers after chasing a adult tusker for about five kilometres, shot him in broad daylight. This reflects the sordid state of security in the state, admits a senior state forest official.
Elephant tusks are cut into pieces and smuggled out in trucks with materials like kendu leaves. Biswajit Mohanty, a noted wildlife activist of the Wildlife Society of Orissa feels that the lax security and better quality of ivory than those found in Africa are the main causes for poaching.
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