Electric snare claims another elephant in Odisha
Satyasundar Barik, The Hindu
July 24, 2021
Environmentalists call for preventive measures to stop rising electrocution
deaths of elephants.
Another elephant was killed on Friday in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district after
coming in contact with live electric wire. Since April alone, five
elephants have been killed by electrocution.
The incident was reported from Hindol Range of Dhenkanal Forest Division.
“Some people had set up a trap with live electric wire fence for wild boar.
The elephant from a seven-member herd accidentally came in contact, leading
to the death,” said Dhenkanal Divisional Forest Officer Prakash Chand
Mr. Gogineni said, “From our initial investigation, we got to know about
involvement of six persons. Four persons have been arrested. Two will soon
This was second electrocution in the Dhenkanal division.
“Despite a large number of electrocution of elephants, which are completely
avoidable, taking place in the State, no visible step is being taken to
prevent deaths,” said Biswajit Mohanty, who heads of Wildlife Society of
According to WSO, 389 elephants have died since in Odisha since 2016-17. Of
the 389, as many as 60 elephants died accidentaly by contact with live
wires. While earlier, sagging overhead transmission lines were responsible
for electrocution deaths, more recently traps to kill wild animals have
“Minimum measures could have saved precious elephants in the State. Regular
patrolling by field level forest officials can keep miscreants at bay. At
the same time, the power distribution companies should have installed
earth-leakage circuit breakers (ELCB), which would have ensured power
disconnection upon elephant coming in contact with live wire,” Mr. Mohanty
Recently, Sangita Iyer, a founder of California-based Voice for Asian
Elephants Society (VFAES), wrote a letter to Tata Power Limited, drawing
attention of staggering elephant death rates in Odisha.
“According to media reports, around 120 elephants were electrocuted in
Odisha between 2009 and 2019. Nearly 30 elephants were electrocuted between
2018 and 2020 alone, caused by live wire fences and wire traps laid for
poaching. These deaths could have been avoided, had the electricity company
taken precautionary measures to prevent poachers from exploiting structural
vulnerabilities, such as the unprotected air break (AB) switches,” said Ms.
“We humbly request that immediately all transformer units and AB switch
poles located in known poaching hotspots in the forest areas be completely
secured, making them inaccessible to poachers. These electrical structures
should be barricaded with high fencing and a locked gate, accessible only
to distribution company officials,” she urged.
Moreover, insulating the wires passing through the forest areas should be
made mandatory and forest clearance for non-compliance should be rejected,
said Ms. Iyer.