BENGALURU: A young tusker was electrocuted on the fringes of Tanigebailu Wildlife Range in Chikkamagaluru district on Monday, taking the number of jumbo deaths by electrocution in Karnataka to 10 in the last three months.During monsoons, sagging power cables, snapped power lines and illegal electric fencing have been killing the gentle giants almost every month in the last decade. At least 100 pachyderms have died this way.On Monday, illegal electric fencing became the cause of death of a 25-30-year-old tusker. The animal was electrocuted near a farm at Nandibattlu Tandya village.
Siddanayak, a farmer, had electrified the fencing around his farm to protect potato crops from elephants. The area falls under Tarikere local range of Bhadravathi territorial division and is adjacent to Tanigebailu wildlife range of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. The young male elephant suffered serious injuries in its trunk, sustaining a severe shock. The farmer is absconding and a case has been registered by Lingadhalli Police and Tarikere Range officials. According to G Veeresh, wildlife activist, it was a single tusk elephant. He said, “This is the fourth such incident in this region as elephants are electrocuted frequently. More than three leopards were also snared in this area. Even people have died by electrocution.”
Karnataka Chief Wildlife Warden C Jayaram told Express that seven deaths which occurred in Kodagu district were because of snapped cables. “The deaths occurred in coffee estates during heavy rains when visibility was low. These were accidental deaths caused by electrocution. After this incident, we held discussions with ESCOMS so that all the sagging and snapped cables are repaired. Now there is regular monitoring and inspection by both forest and power officials,” he said.
In cases of deaths due to electric fencing, cases have been booked against offenders, Jayaram added. “Compared to sagging power cables, deaths due to illegal electric fencing have come down and they are rare now,” he said.However, conservationists disagree and add that the forest department, police and power companies should take strict action against offenders.