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Poachers rig plantation, electrocute elephant in Odisha's Dhenkanal

The carcass of the eight-year-old female elephant was found on private land in Kantamila village under the Hindol range.

Published: 25th July 2021 11:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2021 11:10 AM   |  A+A-

female elephant

Image of female elephant used for representational purpose. (File Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

DHENKANAL:  A young adult elephant walked into a kendu plantation, rigged with live electricity wire, only to end up getting electrocuted in Dhenkanal in what has turned into a tragic pattern of jumbo deaths in the State. 

The incident was reported early on Saturday, July 24, 2021. The carcass of the eight-year-old female elephant was found on private land in Kantamila village under the Hindol range. The jumbo died after coming in contact with a live wire laid by poachers to kill wild boars.

A team of officials led by the assistant conservator of forests (ACF) Rasmi Ranjan Swain reached the spot and conducted the investigation. After inquiry, forest officials arrested Ranjeet Nahak and Jeetu Sahu while two others Anjan Pradhan and Gayadhara Sahu are under interrogation. Six persons were apparently involved, Divisional forest officer (DFO) Prakash Chand Gogineni said.

Ranjeet and other villagers had laid the wire and hooked it to an 11 kV power line to poach boars. The live wire was laid for around three km on the private land. The accused were engaged in poaching in the past using similar methods. 

“A herd of elephants had strayed into the area from Angul on Friday night. One of the elephants was electrocuted. The record of the private land on which the elephant carcass was found has been recovered. Some others are absconding,” the DFO informed.

Sources said kendu trees were grown on the land where the incident took place. Two forest teams along with a sniffer dog were pressed into service to collect evidence from the spot. The DFO, who was present during the postmortem of the carcass, has asked forest personnel to intensify the manhunt to nab the remaining accused. 

On June 6, a 15-year-old tusker was electrocuted near solar fencing in the mango orchard of one Biswajit Arjend Kumar Jena, a lawyer, in Govindprasad village under Odapada block. Though Jena was arrested, he was later released on bail.  After investigation, it was found that the tusker had come in contact with an LT line and died. Further, the solar fencing was overcharged to 20 kV instead of the specified 9 kV. The DFO had said that it was a deliberate attempt to kill the tusker.

Forest officials also found that half of the mango orchard land was encroached by Jena. Though the Forest department had sought the land schedule from Odapada tehsil office, sources said it is yet to receive the same. Odapada tehsildar Bani Nivedita Swain said the land schedule report was sent to the Forest department on Friday. She further confirmed that Jena had encroached on the forest land but refused to divulge any details. However, DFO Gogineni said the Forest department is yet to receive the land schedule from the tehsil office. 



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