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WPSI FILES PETITION ON POACHING BY ELECTROCUTION

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 the problem.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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