A 22-year-old female elephant and its two-year- old calf were found dead at the Haridwar range of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) on Thursday evening.
Forest officers said the elephants had been dead for at least a week. They said the female elephant was walking when it accidentally touched a high tension wire with its trunk and was electrocuted. Its calf, walking alongside, was also killed.
“The elephant must have raised its trunk and that’s when it touched the wire. Both the elephant and its calf died,” RTR director Sanatan Sonkar told HT.
Wildlife experts have expressed their anger over the bodies being discovered so late.
“There were white patches on the bodies with maggots, which proved that the accident was not fresh. The concern is, what were the reserve’s staff doing when the accident happened? Why haven’t they identified such poles and places which are high risk and why don’t they do intensive patrolling there?” a wildlife expert said.
However, Sonkar said that the size of the reserve makes it impossible to do an intensive patrol. “Rajaji is spread over 1,000 sq km and it is practically impossible to patrol every inch. As the pole (with high tension wires) belonged to SIDCUL, we are taking a measurement of it and have also filed a case under The Wildlife Protection Act against them,” he said.