Take ACTION to help Odisha's Elephants
If you were angered by the horrendous death of seven elephants in Odisha on October 27th and the continuing loss of elephant life in the state please take a few moments to copy and paste this letter into your email and send it to the Chief Minister of Odisha. We are requesting the resignation of the current Minister of Forests & Environment under who's watch the precious wildlife of Odisha is struggling to survive.
The Chief Minister, Odisha
Government of Odisha,
State Secretariat, Bhubaneswar-751001
Re: Appeal seeking the resignation of the Honourable Minister for Forests & Environment for gross neglect in his duty to protect Odisha’s elephants and wildlife
Through my support of Asian elephant conservation and the work of the Wildlife Society of Odisha (WSO), I have been made aware of the gruesome mass electrocution of seven elephants on 27th October 2018 at Kamalanga in Dhenkanal district and the recent death on 2nd January 2019 of another elephant in the same district.
Following the biggest ever electrocution of elephants in India I, and thousands of wildlife lovers and conservationists across the world, are dismayed by this slaughter. Odisha is known for its magnificent elephants and yet it is fast becoming an elephant graveyard. It is especially tragic when we know it could and should have been avoided.
I was pleased to see that you ordered the Crime Branch Police to investigate this shocking incident. However, I wish to record my disappointment over the worrying performance of the current Minister for Forests & Environment. I am horrified to learn that, since May 2017 when he took over, 121 wild elephants have died, out of which 26 elephants have been electrocuted either by sagging power lines or by poachers hooking up live wires. In a similar incident, on the 9th of June 2017, three decomposed elephant bodies were found electrocuted near Borapada in Dhenkanal district.
It is doubly shocking to learn that there are hundreds of sagging line points across most of the elephant districts of Odisha. In other words, a similar tragedy is just waiting to happen. It is surely the duty of the Minister of Forests & Environment to protect elephants, including from electrocution. The lack of action by the Energy Department has been raised several times with the Minister. WSO alone has written to him three times on the issue.
In addition to this recent tragedy, Odisha has lost 28 male elephants during the tenure of the current Minister, open wells have caused the death of four elephants and human elephant conflict has claimed the life of 141 people. Along with the issues faced by Odisha’s elephants a host of other wildlife has been lost under this Minister’s watch and yet, given the persistent conflicts and threats to wildlife, he has still not recognised the need to post a full-time Chief Wildlife Warden for the state. WSO has written regularly to raise these issues but the Minister still does not act.
In view of the persistent failures of the department and the lack of adequate supervision and control over the officers I strongly believe that the present Minister should resign in the interests of the wildlife of Odisha.
As someone passionate about the survival of Asia’s elephants, and shocked by the recent events in Odisha, I trust that you will consider my plea and ask the present Minister to resign making way for a more dynamic and committed Minister who can ensure the safety of this precious and vulnerable species that is loved across the globe.
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