BENGALURU: In the past few days, two species — a leopard and an elephant — have been snared and electrocuted respectively in the Chikkamagaluru territorial division. This division alone has seen electrocution of eight elephants and snaring of 12 leopards in the last decade. Conservationists have expressed serious concerns on the lack of protective measures in the state forests of Churchegudda and encroached forests of Kamenahalli, as well as other ranges in this division.
Recently, a leopard was caught in a snare at Dasarahalli in Churchegudda state forest, wherein, the villagers reported seeing the leopard roaming with a live snare tangled around its neck. The leopard had escaped from the snare but could not escape death. Forest officials say hunters had fixed a snare in the fencing around Pavithravana forest.
On Wednesday, a 20-year-old tusker was found electrocuted in Hirebidre village of Kamenahalli forests. This happened in the encroached forest lands of farmer Thamaiah. He had illegally electrified the fence around this farm to protect his ginger crops. Officials add that the absconding land owner Shivaraj, who had earlier shot a tusker in the village in 2015, had leased this land to Thamaiah for growing ginger.
Wildlife conservationist G Veeresh added, “Snaring is a silent killer of wild animals and hunters/smugglers are using this method quite often in forest areas and fields adjacent to tiger reserves, national parks and reserve forest areas. Wildlife traders install snares usually to trap big cats and so, it is also a question of survival of tigers. The forest department should take note of this and pass strict orders for banning usage of electrified fences in farm lands adjoining forests.”
Activists allege that for the last 10 years, snaring, electrocution and poisoning of wild species, including big cats, are on the rise. “Protection measures are pretty low in critical areas, while officials are concentrating on plantation work and other civil works. So people have started killing wild animals without any fear.”
Meanwhile, Chikkamagaluru Range ACF Ramesh Babu said, “Investigations are on. Cases have been booked in both the incidents. Both Thamaiah and Shivaraj are absconding, they will be arrested soon. Combing operations in coordination with a Bengaluru NGO, who are specialists in snares, will begin soon and will be done for two days. As far as electrified fences are concerned, we are always on the lookout but it is very tough as farmers switch on power any time resulting in such deaths.”