Elephants death toll has risen in Keonjhar forest division over the last one year. Sources revealed that when Santosh Joshi was the DFO from 2017 to 2020, 24 elephants had died in Keonjhar forest division spreading shock and surprise among wildlife lovers and environmentalists.
However, after the transfer of Joshi to Mayurbhanj, DFO Swayam Mallik had stressed on forest and wildlife conservation and there was no death of elephants during his one-year tenure. It is noteworthy that before Swayam Mallik as DFO in Keonjhar division, the Forest Department was busy in MGNREGS work neglecting the forest and wild life conservation work. But after Swayam was relieved on July 21 for a study tour abroad, conservation of wild life and forest went haywires and elephants started dying.
It is said that four elephants died just after 20 days of his relief from duty. The latest one was on September 25, 2021 just on the eve of joining of DH Hanumanta,the present DFO. It is alleged that former DFO Ajit Satpathy didn't bother to look after the division. Sources revealed that a pregnant female elephant was getting acute pain as she was not able to deliver a calf. According to wild life lovers, it was the duty of the concerned forest officials just to wait and watch ,when they find a pregnant female elephant in similar situation but some inexperienced forest officials tranquilized the pregnant elephant in the prohibited area which led her drowning in a nearby river.