Elephants break electric fence to get to garbage dump (Chennai, India)


P Oppili|, Times of India

Date Published


Once again wild elephants have started feeding on garbage dumps in Silver Clouds in the Gudalur area in the Nilgiris. Pictures sent by wildlife researchers show a tusker breaking the electrified fence erected by the Gudalur municipal authorities and entering the dump.

The power supply to the fence was cut off due to overgrowth of bushes. The tusker apparently realised this and broke the fences.

Researchers from the World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-I) had fixed camera traps at the place. D Boominathan, a researcher, told TOI that the gate through which garbage-laden lorries entered the dump, was ill-maintained. The tusker broke in through this part, he said. Another researcher Madhu Sudanan of Gudalur said the civic body had not pruned the bushes and the power snapped. Such expensive and foolproof fence had been lost to poor maintenance.”Had the undergrowth been cleared, the fence would have deterred the elephants,” he said.

Nilgiris Environment Committee member Sadiq Ali said the fence proved effective for a few months. Now, with no maintenance, the elephants have learnt to break in. The dump falls in a prime elephant corridor and it will attract more elephants, becoming a threat to human beings and wildlife alike, he said. Since the dump was close to the road, it posed a serious threat to motorists on the national highway 200 meters away. Three days ago, forest guard Suresh was attacked by a herd of wild elephants at Cherambadi village in Gudalur taluk.

Municipal authorities should fix the fences immediately. Delay will escalate the man-animal conflict in Gudalur, he said.