Appeal to barricade open wells

The Wildlife Society of Odisha has urged the state government to barricade open wells with a view to saving animals, especially the elephants, which fall into them and die.

By Lalmohan Patnaik in Cuttack
  • Published 5.12.17
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Cuttack: The Wildlife Society of Odisha has urged the state government to barricade open wells with a view to saving animals, especially the elephants, which fall into them and die.

A large number of elephants and other wildlife animals are falling into open wells, and in many cases, this leads to their death, said society secretary Biswajit Mohanty on Monday.

On October 29, an elephant calf died after falling into an open well at Madhapur under Athmalik forest division in Angul district. The carcass was discovered after two to three days. On November 3, another jumbo calf fell into an open well near Naharkanta under the Tangi forest range in Khurda district. The calf survived as it was rescued.

On November 27, an adult female elephant that had fallen into an open well at Tapursingha under the Athmalik forest division was rescued after a marathon 10-hour operation. But unfortunately, the same elephant fell into another open well a kilometre away the next day. It died before being rescued. The society had carried out a survey, which indicated that since December 12, 2012 there had been 63 open well incidents, in which 85 animals had fallen. While 42 of them were elephants, the rest were other animals.

On October 26, two bear cubs fell into an open well near Badadeula in Koraput municipality limits. Both were rescued, but one died and the other got badly injured.

While most of the 85 animals were rescued, 12 animals, including seven elephants, died. Other wild animals, which had fallen into open wells, included sloth bear, rattle, pangolin, spotted and barking deer, wild boar, monitor lizard, jungle cat and fishing cat, the survey indicated.

"We have already urged the state forest and environment minister to take measures to address the problem through memorandums, along with a proposal to barricade all such wells in the elephant habitats," Mohanty said.

"We are disappointed that despite our repeated pleas since four years, no action has been taken to barricade these open wells," Mohanty further said.

According to the wildlife society, not more than Rs 1.5 crore is needed to barricade 5,000 open wells in the state. "This is a small amount considering the fact that the state has about 2,000 elephants," Mohanty said.