| Another Elephant Electrocuted
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.
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