Six Asiatic wild elephants were electrocuted in a northeast village as they went berserk after drinking rice beer, a wildlife official said Tuesday.
“Nearly 40 elephants arrived at Chandan Nukat, a village nearly 240 kilometers west of Shillong, on Friday looking for food. A few of them found beer stored in plastic and tin drums and got drunk,” said Sunil Kumar, a state wildlife official.
The elephants then uprooted an electric pole and in doing so were electrocuted. “There would have been more dead elephants had the villagers not chased them away,” said Dipu Mark, a local conservationist. The elephants are known to have a taste for rice beer brewed by tribal communities in the northeast.
Four wild elephants died under similar circumstances in the region three years ago.
Last week, five Asiatic lions were also found electrocuted in the vicinity of Gir National Park. Authorities said the lions were killed by an electrified fence illegally put by a villager to protect crops. The northeast accounts for the world’s largest populace of Asiatic elephants with Assam and Meghalaya having 7,000 of them.
“It’s great to have such a huge number of elephants, but the decline in wild life habitat due to the increase in human population, is giving us nightmares,” said Pradyut Bordoloi, former Assam forest and environment minister.