Human-animal conflict escalates, another elephant electrocuted (Bandipur, India)


Krishna Kumar, The Hindu

Date Published

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This is the sixth elephant to be electrocuted around Bandipur during the current year

Yet another elephant was electrocuted on the outskirts of Bandipur National Park, underlining the growing intensity of human-animal conflict on the forest periphery in the current season.

The elephant came in contact with an electric fence, illegally drawn from live wires, resulting in instant death on the farm of Bhogaiah at Haadnuru village in the Hediyala range on Sunday.

The incident took place about half a km from the same spot where another elephant was electrocuted recently at Haadnuru. A farmer Shivanna was mauled to death by a tiger in the same village. The tiger was subsequently shot dead. This is the sixth elephant to be electrocuted around Bandipur during the current year, while as many as 15 elephants had died under similar circumstances during 2014-15.

Honorary Wildlife Warden Naveen Kumar, who visited the spot, told The Hindu that such conflicts were bound to escalate as crops on farms around forest periphery were ready for harvest. The need of the hour was to take up maintenance and repairs of the three-metre-deep Elephant Proof Trenches along areas of high conflicts, especially around Hediyala, Nugu, Moleyuru and Omkara ranges. “Apart from the trenches, the solar-powered fences should also be repaired. An amount of Rs. 10 crore is required for the repair, as the trenches around Bandipur are in bad shape due to inadequate maintenance,” he added.

Besides, the two-metre-deep trenches cut around the forests earlier were not insurmountable for the elephants. But wherever the depth of the trenches was increased to three metres, it was found to be successful in preventing the elephants from crossing over. The long-term solution was to finish the first phase of the rail track fences, estimated to cost Rs. 40 crore for execution, which was held up for lack of funds. “Though the State government has earmarked funds for rail track fencing as a permanent solution and earmarked Rs. 230 crore towards it, the project is yet to get started,” said Mr. Kumar.

An emergency meeting of senior Forest Department officials has been sought on Monday to discuss the issue as it is feared that conflicts were bound to escalate, Mr. Kumar added.