A whopping 1,160 elephants were killed in the country due to reasons other than natural causes in the past 10 years up to December 31, 2020, according to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
While electrocution claimed the lives of 741 elephants, train hits led to the death of 186 pachyderms, followed by poaching (169) and poisoning (64), a document accessed from the Ministry through the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed.
Karnataka and Odisha lost 133 elephants each to electrocution during the period and Assam reported 129 deaths.
Among elephant casualties due to train hits, Assam stood first with 62 deaths, followed by West Bengal at 57.
A total of 169 elephants were killed by poachers in the 10 years and Odisha reported the highest of 49, followed by Kerala 23. Assam reported the highest number of elephants poisoned, 32, and Odisha stood second with 15.
India had a total of 29,964 wild elephants as per an estimate done in 2017. The southern region comprising Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra accounted for the highest population — 14,612 elephants.
A Permanent Coordination Committee has been constituted between the Ministry of Railways and the MoEFCC for preventing elephant deaths due to train hits.