RAIPUR: With two more wild elephants found dead in the districts of Dhamtari and Raigarh on Tuesday, Chhattisgarh has witnessed deaths of five jumbos during the past one week.
A male elephant got electrocuted at Girisha village in Raigarh where a herd of pachyderms was roaming in Dharamjaigarh forest division since past couple of days, Santosh Kumar Singh, the district police chief told The New Indian Express.
“The forest department has lodged an FIR and the two accused have been arrested. Apparently, the elephant died after coming in contact with a live wire which perhaps was used for an illegal power connection at a nearby farmland”, Singh added.
In another incident, an elephant calf died after it got trapped in a marshland at Mongri in Dhamtari district, about 110 km south of Raipur. According to a forest officer, it might have got stuck in the muddy swamp while venturing in for drinking water. “We are investigating”, Singh said.
Last week, the carcasses of two elephants were recovered in the forest range of Surajpur district, about 300 km north of Raipur. In the adjoining district of Balrampur another tusker was found dead on June 11.
Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed to probe into the deaths of three female pachyderms in north Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja range. The state government later suspended four officials of the forest department for their negligence leading to the death of the elephants.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO) and eight other prominent animal rights groups have demanded from the Central government ‘an independent investigation in the recent deaths and possible murder of wild elephants in Chhattisgarh and Kerala’.
“The elephant is a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. It is one of the most protected animal with severe punishment meted out to those who hurt them”, they stated in a joint letter submitted to the government.