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393 Elephants Died in Odisha in last 5 Years, Poaching being one of the major Reasons

According to official figures, most of the deaths occurred during 2015-16 and 2012-13 with 81 elephants killed during that time

Elephant family. Flickr

Bhubaneswar, Sep 27, 2016: As many as 393 elephants have died in the past five years in Odisha, Forests and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh said on Tuesday. The minister did not elaborate how the pachyderms died.

However, according to a senior official of the forest department, several elephants suffered unnatural deaths owing to poaching, poisoning, train and road accidents as well as electrocution.

According to official figures, most of the deaths occurred during 2015-16 and 2012-13 with 81 elephants killed during that time.

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Arukh told the state assembly while replying to a question by Biju Janata Dal MLA Amar Prasad Satapathy that the state government was taking several steps to protect the jumbos and stone walls, trenches and solar powered wire fencing were put up in sensitive areas to prevent elephants from entering human habitats.

“We are taking a number of steps to confine elephants in forests. New forests having plant species relished by elephants are being created. Besides, fresh water bodies are being created and those existing are being renovated,” Arukh said.

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Apart from putting up solar fencing to ward off elephants, anti-depredation squads, and elephant trackers were engaged in monitoring movement of elephants and prevent them from entering human habitats, said the minister.

The forest and the energy departments were coordinating to raise the height of electric poles to prevent sagging of wires.

The minister said the elephants enter human habitats in search of food due to forest fire, urbanisation, industrialisation, increasing population and land encroachment.

According to him, the state government was developing 14 identified elephant corridors.

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There were three elephant reserves namely Mayurbhanj, Mahanadi and Sambalpur while 14 elephant corridors in the state spreading over 870 sq km. Besides, nine fragmented corridors are also formed, said sources. (IANS)

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393