| WPSI FILES PETITION ON POACHING BY
7th January, 2004
On 6 January 2004,
the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme
Court of India heard a 59-page petition filed by the
Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) on the electrocution
of wildlife, which is now widespread throughout India.
In the year 2003 alone, 28 elephants and six tigers
died due to electrocution. Convinced of the gravity
of the problem, the CEC asked the respondents - which
include the Ministry of Power, the Central Electricity
Authority, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and
the various State Electricity Boards and Forest Departments
- to work out a solution in collaboration with WPSI.
WPSI submitted its petition to the
CEC in November 2003. The petition gave a state and
species wise mortality count, showing that the commonest
victims were highly endangered species such as the elephant,
the tiger, the leopard and the Indian rhinoceros. Detailed
information on poaching methods and video evidence of
poaching were filed, along with recommendations to solve
Alarmed by the rising number of reports
of animals being electrocuted, WPSI started a thorough
and detailed nationwide investigation in 2001. The data
compilation and analysis revealed a dreadful scenario
- over the past 13 years, more than 257 wild animals
had been killed by electrocution.
Most of these deaths were preventable.
Deliberate poaching - stealing electricity from an overhead
line by hooking a wire and laying a live line across
an animal track - can be stopped by installing relays
that trip the line if it is tapped. Accidental electrocution
can also be reduced if transmission lines avoid major
animal migration routes.
At the hearing, the atmosphere was
one of consensus. The respondents all agreed that the
issue was indeed serious. The CEC pointed out that the
preliminary solution be worked out by the next hearing
in six weeks time.