Around 10,000 officials of the Orissa Wildlife Department have started a survey to determine the number of wild elephants in the state, an official said Thursday.

The officials have been trained and provided necessary kits to track the elephants in the wild through their footmarks and dung.

“We have provided our officials with equipments and trained them how to track the elephants. It would be a comprehensive census. The officials have gone into the forests from today (Thursday),” said P.N. Padhi, principal chief conservator of forests.

The counting exercise will last three days.

The census would be conducted in about 129,700 sq km of forest area in the state.

“We have formed separate teams to count the elephants. They will keep a track on the movement of elephants 24X7 for the next three days. During these three days, they will track the beats and waterholes which the elephants frequent,” said A.K. Das, a district forest officer.

According to a census in 2007, there were 1,862 elephants in the state.