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Odisha’s 2024 Census Reveals Slight Increase in Elephant Population

Odisha witnesses a marginal increase in its elephant population, rising from 1,976 in 2017 to 2,098 in 2024
Indian Masterminds Stories

According to the All-Odisha Elephant Census-2024, released on June 5, Odisha’s elephant population has seen a slight increase, rising from 1,976 in 2017 to 2,098 in 2024. The census recorded 2,098 elephants across 38 forest divisions, including 313 adult tuskers, 13 adult makhnas, 748 adult females, 148 sub-adult males, 282 sub-adult females, 209 juveniles, and 385 calves. Thirteen divisions reported no elephants.

The last census in 2017 recorded 1,976 elephants, which included 212 adult tuskers, 10 adult makhnas, 816 adult females, 122 sub-adult males, 276 sub-adult females, 38 of unknown sex, 203 juveniles, and 299 calves.

“There is a marginal increase in elephant numbers in the state. However, a significant rise has been observed in certain divisions such as Angul, Athagarh, Dhenkanal, Baripada, Chandaka, Khordha, Bonai, and Keonjhar,” said Sushant Nanda, Principal Chief Wildlife Warden.

The report also highlights a decline in elephant populations in divisions such as Similipal North, Similipal South, Balasore, Rairangpur, Balangir, Parlakhemundi, and a few others. These declines may be due to changes in the elephants’ movement patterns and land use, with significant shifts observed in Angul, Rourkela, and Baripada Circle.

“There has been a 40% increase in the population of tuskers over the last seven years. This has created a healthy ratio of adult males to females and a significant number of young elephants,” noted Mr. Nanda.

A total of 584 elephants, representing about 28% of the state’s total elephant population, were counted in three elephant reserves. Odisha now boasts a large, well-established elephant population with a stable age distribution and a growth rate of around 3%.

Elephant deaths over the past five years have varied between 3% and 4.5% of the total population, with the lowest death rate recorded in the 2023–24 financial year. It is estimated that 2,100–2,200 elephants utilize Odisha’s forests annually, due to interstate migration from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal.

A survey has been scheduled for November 14-15, timed to coincide with the migration from neighboring states during kharif harvesting, to assess the maximum population using Odisha’s terrain.


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