Bhubaneswar: The increasing number of bull-elephants in Odisha forest clearly indicates that the poaching for tusker has been contained to some extent.

Tusker poaching in the state had reached to a notoriety about a decade or two earlier and it was apprehended that the male elephants in the Odisha forests would be perished soon. However, the news that the number of tukser going up come as a relief to elephant lovers of the state.

Sadly, however, the number of cow-elephant has decreased during the last two years,  while the total number of elephants in the state forest has increased during the same period.

The 2017 Elephant Census report, released by the forest and environment minister Bijayashree Routray, here on Monday, says that the number of elephants has increased marginally by 22  from 1954 in 2015 to 1976 in 2017. The elephant population was 1,930 in 2012.

The Census says while there are 344 tuskhers, the number of cow elephants is  1092. There are 502 young elephants in the state. The Forest Department could not identify the sex of 38 elephants. Interestingly the Census claims that the male population has gone up by three as compared to 2015. The number had increased by 7 in 2015 as compared to 2012. On the other hand, it states that the number of female elephants has decreased by four. The number had increased by 9 in 2015 as compared to 2012. The number of young elephants has gone up by 12.

In the last two years as many 156 elephants died in Odisha forests and most of these deaths were due to electrocution and train accidents.

The minister said in the seven elephant sanctuaries in the  three elephant reserves of Mayurbhanj, Mahanadi and Sambalpur  1,536 elephants were enumerated, which account for 77.73 per cent of the total elephant population in the state. Five other sanctuaries have an elephant population of 79. The Forest Department officials have counted 361 elephants outside the elephant reserves and sanctuaries. The highest number of 330 elephants was found in the Similipal reserve (core areas) while 169 were counted in Dhenkanal division.