Wild life group writes to Ramesh over jumbo killings (Lead)

February 15th, 2011 - 9:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 15 (IANS) Concerned over the continuing deaths of elephants and other animals, mainly due to poaching, in Orissa’s Simlipal National Park, a wild life organisation Tuesday sought the intervention of union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in the matter.The carcasses of three cow elephants were spotted within the core area of the park, about 320 km from here Sunday. The jumbos are suspected to have been poisoned to death.

A few days ago, an adult tigress was also found dead with its skin, claws and teeth missing inside the core area, the secretary of the NGO Wild Life Society of Orissa, Biswajit Mohanty, told IANS.

He said he has written a letter requesting the minister to direct the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to set up a panel to monitor the situation in Similipal, one of India’s first Project Tiger reserves.

Members of the monitoring committee set up by the NTCA had pointed out to the ministry in its letter of Oct 25, 2010, that the state government was not allowing the committee to function.

Had the monitoring committee been allowed to function, this tragedy of mass deaths could have been possibly prevented, Mohanty said in his letter.

The NTCA would have got monthly updates from the committee which could have set off alarm bells if things went wrong, he said.

Mohanty has requested the minister to direct the NTCA to re-notify the Simlipal monitoring committee and issue directions to the state government to cooperate so that the NTCA gets monthly updates on the situation in Simlipal.

In April last year, some seven elephants were found dead in the same park, prompting Jairam Ramesh to send a team of experts for a field visit.

During the past two years, at least 50 elephants have been killed in the state by poachers and not a single forest official has been made accountable for the crimes, Mohanty alleged.

Expressing concern at the increasing incidence of elephant killings in the state, Ramesh had also written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeking protection for the pachyderms.

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