Bhubaneswar: Elephant population in the state has increased marginally to 1,976 this year from 1,954 recorded in 2015 despite death of jumbos due to various reasons during the period.
Releasing the 2017 elephant census report here, Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray said the number of pachyderms increased by 22 in the state as compared to the census conducted in 2015.
The census, conducted in 43 wildlife divisions, showed there were 1,536 elephants in three elephant reserves of Mayurbhanj, Mahanadi and Sambalpur, which accounted for 77.73 per cent of the total jumbo population in the state.
Similarly, five other sanctuaries have an elephant population of 79, while there were 361 elephants outside different elephant reserves and sanctuaries, Routray said.
Out of the total jumbo population, 344 were identified as tuskers, while 1,092 were females and 502 were young elephants or calves. However, the sex of 38 elephants could not be determined during the census operation, said the report.
The census report showed that the core area of the Similipal reserve was home to the highest number of 330 elephants, followed by 169 in Dhenkanal forest division, the minister said.