Odisha: Three elephants die within 12 hrs; two of electrocution
Three elephants died within 12 hours in Odisha, including two of electrocution, in three separate incidents as they fell prey to bushmeat poachers who had laid a trap with high tension 11 KV wires to kill wild boars.
In Kadala village under Hindol range of Dhenkanal district, a full grown 35-year-old makhna (tuskless male elephant) was found electrocuted along with a wild boar this morning by locals. Dhenkanal divisional forest officer Prakash Chand Gogineni said late on Monday evening, the lone elephant was passing by the village when it was tracked by elephant trackers and an official of power distribution compnay TDCCOL was asked to switch off power to avert electrocution.
“However, he did not listen to us, saying the lines were insulated. But poachers had already cut through the insulation and dangled electric wires which killed the wild boar first and the elephant later. We would write to the distribution company with all the records, seeking departmental action against the junior engineer for not paying heed to to our requests. We are also trying to apprehend the person who laid the live wire,” said Gogineni.
Similarly, late on Monday night, a 12-year-old tusker in Sambalpur district was also found electrocuted at Jadu Loisingha village after it came in contact with an electric wire connected to 11 KV line.
Sambalpur divisional forest officer Sanjeet Kumar said the tusker may have died after coming in contact with the live wire laid for poaching wild boars. “It has been a common practice for some hunters to lay electric wires to prevent their crops from being destroyed by pachyderms and other wild animals. And this caused the death of the tusker. Exemplary punishment will be handed down to the culprits found,” said the DFO.
The elephant, part of an 18-member herd, was seen on Sunday night among paddy crops at Basiapada and Bargetikra in the area. There, the people drove the herd away into the forest. Samples have been collected for lab tests from the carcass which bore no injury marks.
The DFO said he has ordered a probe into the incident and directed assistant conservator of forest to submit a report in this connection within three days.
Wildlife activists demanded that forest department should take immediate steps to stop rampant poaching of wild boar throughout the state and ensure all power lines in forest areas are insulated cables.
In a separate incident, a four-month-old elephant calf died after being stuck in mud at Lauguda under Seragada block of Ganjam district on Monday night. Forest officials had launched an operation to rescue the animal, but could not rescue it well in time. The officials have recovered the carcass for autopsy.
Since April 1 this year, 40 elephants have died in the state due to electrocution, poaching or after getting hit by running trains and trucks. Similarly, 64 people have died in human-elephant conflict while 71 have been injured in 111 encounters. Wildlife activists said the casualties in elephant and human beings would increase in the next few months as paddy harvest season is about to start.
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