Guidelines to Prevent Wildlife Electrocutions
5 August 2005
A recent set of guidelines by the Central Electricity Authority may go a
long way in preventing wildlife deaths due to electrocution. The guidelines
on “the laying of transmission/distribution lines in areas critical from
the wildlife point of view” were issued as a result of a petition filed by
the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) before the Central
Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court of India.
The guidelines, issued to various State Electricity Boards and Forest
Departments, include guard spikes to discourage animals from rubbing
against poles, strengthened security to prevent poaching by wire tapping,
joint inspections by Electricity and Forest Departments, and careful
planning and consultation with the Forest Department while stringing wires
in forest areas
WPSI has gathered data on wildlife electrocutions – both accidental deaths
as well as deliberate poaching – from government and press records going as
far back as 15 years. Analysis of this data revealed a horrifying scenario,
from groups of elephants being accidentally electrocuted to poachers
running live wires into water holes during summer.
WPSI’s Electrocution Petition, filed in 2003, stunned the Respondents,
which included the Ministry of Power and several Electricity Boards of
states where the problem was acute. The petition gave a state and species
wise breakdown of wildlife electrocutions, and suggested several measures
to prevent them.
As a result of a brain-storming session held between the Respondents, the
CEC and WPSI, the Central Electricity Authority issued the guidelines. It
is now up to the State Electricity Boards and Forest Departments to
implement them, and prevent these terrible deaths.