Bhubaneswar: Wildlife experts are worried over the alarming decline in elephant population in the Chandaka Sanctuary on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
Spread over an area of 193.39 sq km, the Chandaka reserve forest was notified as an elephant sanctuary by the state government in 1982.
Statistical data by theChandaka Damapada Wildlife Division says that there were about 83 elephants in the Chandaka Sanctuary in May 1999. However, by May 2002, their number came down to 62.
Though the number of elephants had marginally gone up to 67 by May 2007, it came down drastically to 23 by April 2010. While 24 elephants were spotted in the sanctuary in June 2012, the number plummeted to 8 by May 2015.
According to data revealed by the Chandaka Damapada Wildlife Division of 2016, there are only 5-6 elephants in the sanctuary and about 18 elephants are constantly on the move between the sanctuary and Athagarh Reserve Forest.
Construction of houses along the Chandaka Sanctuary and the Athagarh Reserve Forest areas, mushrooming of brick kilns near the periphery of the sanctuary and rampant felling of trees inside the sanctuary are the reasons for the dwindling population of the wild jumbos, wildlife experts have pointed out.