Jumbo, Calf Fall Prey to Killer Wire (Cuttack, India)


The New Indian Express

Date Published


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In a heinous incident, two elephants comprising a mother and her calf were electrocuted to death near a village at Choudwar under Cuttack Forest division on Saturday night.

The mother and calf came in contact with live wire as they strayed into the agricultural fields at Dihasahi village adjoining Athagarh forests. The wire was drawn from Pahalibar village in Khuntuni and fixed to bamboo poles around 50 acre of farmland.

According to Forest officials, the act was undertaken under the garb of solar fencing to protect the crop land from jumbo incursions which has been a menace in the region. Earlier, the Forest Department had supported installation of solar fences to keep animals and livestock away from agriculture land.

But in this case, the wire was found to have been drawn by hooking into the high tension line and extended through a length of more than 700 metres. The jumbos, apparently, tried to cross through at around 3 am and sustained such strong shock that they succumbed on the spot.

In solar fences, the shock is delivered in pulses and stops after one jolt which is enough to deter the animals. But here, the electricity flow was continuous that resulted in death of the animals. What is of more concern is that the wire was drawn without any technical understanding and hung in low height. The elephants bore electrocution mark beneath the stomach.

While the Forest Department has lodged a case under Wildlife Protection Act and started investigation, it is also set to seek assistance of electricity supply company to ascertain where the line was hooked.

In another incident, a juvenile elephant was found dead at Majhipada reserve forest under Tikarpada Range on Saturday night. The elephant, aged four to five years, was apparently suffering from disease and had been abandoned by the herd. It succumbed on Saturday. Its tiny tusks were found in tact.

Though there are no signs of foul play, the cause of death is being verified, Forest officials said.