Power cable strung too low kills elephant in Odisha (India)


The New Indian Express

Date Published

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BARIPADA: A wild elephant died after coming into contact with an 11 kv power line in the Baripada territorial forest in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha on Thursday. It was about 40 years of age.

An eyewitness in Jharjamda village, Sanjeeb Kumar Mahakud said he was woken at about 2 am by the sound of a fence being torn down in his orchard. Two elephants had entered the orchard and seemed to be headed for the Barjul water body, half a kilometer from the village.

After drinking water, jumbos turned back towards the village when the mishap took place.

Divisional forest officer (DFO) Sanjay Kumar Swain said a 11 KV line, barely 8 ft from the ground, touched the head and back of the tusker. It fell dead on the spot.

The burn marks on the animal’s trunk indicated that it tried to extricate itself from the wire.

A herd of nine elephants from the Similipal Tiger Reserve were seen inside the Krushnachandrapur forest for the last couple of months. The department had kept a watch on their movements but could not prevent the electrocution.

Swain said the state’s power transmission company NESCO’s Baripada division would be charged for negligence as it was aware that the place is an elephant corridor.

A complaint against a junior engineer and ACO of the Baripada division of NESCO will be lodged for violating legal provisions which stipulate that live power wires should be at least 18.5 feet high.

The elephant’s carcass will be taken to a forest area for cremation after a post mortem operation. Police and forest officials were guarding the spot till reports last came in.