Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has decided to set up a hospital for wild animals, officials said.
The veterinary hospital will be established in Chandka forest area situated close to the state capital, Additional Chief Secretary Mona Sharma said.
The decision in this regard was taken during a state- level meeting on ”elephant protection and conservation in Odisha” held on Saturday under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary A K Tripathy, she said.
During the meeting, it was felt that a wildlife hospital could help save wild animals from unnatural deaths caused by diseases in the forest areas, the official said.
Considering the forest spread and elephant population in Odisha, Tripathy has directed the officials concerned to adopt a “focused intervention approach” for the development of elephant habitats in the state, she said.
At present, there are 14 elephant corridors in the state and it was decided to develop two more corridors — Similipal-Hadgarh and Barunai-Nuagada, the official said.
The elephant population in the state is witnessing growth, with 1,976 pachyderms recorded in 2017, up from 1,930 in 2012. The corresponding numbers for 2007 and 1999 were 1,862 and 1,827 respectively, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) (Wildlife) Harishankar Upadhyay said.
During the meeting, it was also decided to build three NH 55 underpasses in Dhenkanal, Redhakhol and Athmallik forest divisions this year to save elephants from road accidents, he said.
Tripathy has said that the divisional forest officers and the power discoms should be in regular contact to minimise electrocution deaths of elephants, Upadhaya said.
The chief secretary has also instructed officials to keep a strict vigil to prevent miscreants from intentionally hanging live wires to kill the pachyderms for ulterior motives and take strict action against such criminals, he said.
The meeting also resolved to intensify elephant conservation in Mahanadi, Mayurbhanj and Sambalpur elephant reserves spread over 8,509 sq km area, through the plantation of flora species consumed by the pachyderms, the official said.
Around 23 such species were identified and listed while a proposal for weed eradication, meadow development and fodder plantation along with the creation of more water bodies was approved during the meeting, he said.
In view of the situation arising out of the lockdown, the chief secretary has asked the forest and environment department to create more job opportunities in the forest sector, the official added.