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Another Elephant Electrocuted to Death

26th Feb.,2004

Carelessness and negligence continue to take the lives of India’s wild animals. On 20 February 2004, around midnight, a wild tusker was electrocuted to death in an orchard in Mishar Pura village, under Kankhal Police Station, Haridwar, Uttaranchal.

According to preliminary reports received by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), the orchard caretaker discovered the death at 7 a.m. on 21 February, and informed the electricity department. At that time, the wire was still live. The electricity department finally shut down the power around 9 a.m. and then arrived at the spot.

The tragic death was easily preventable. The Uttaranchal Power Corporation had been carrying out maintenance work on an 11,000 KV power line running through the orchard. The contractor hired for the job neglected to secure the wires at the required height of 4 metres and left them dangling at 7 to 8 feet. It was a tragedy waiting to happen when the tusker walked straight into the low slung wire.

The elephant was one of a group of young tuskers that would regularly cross the Tircha Bridge at Shyampur on their way to the Ganga. A WPSI project officer photographed the tuskers in October 2003.

Wild animal mortalities by electrocution - both accidental and deliberate - have reached staggering proportions in India. WPSI presently has records of more than 257 large wild mammals that have been electrocuted in the last 14 years. In the year 2003 alone, 28 elephants and six tigers died due to electrocution.

The Honourable Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court of India is currently hearing a petition filed by WPSI on the electrocution of wild animals throughout India. The respondents, which include the Ministry of Power, Ministry of Environment and Forests and several State Electricity Boards, have been asked to work out a solution in collaboration with WPSI.



 

 

 

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