No action plan to prevent elephant electrocution in Karnataka
Electric fencing in farmlands is one of the major reasons for elephant electrocution in Karnataka.
Seven elephants have died due to electric shocks this year in Karnataka as per the forest department data. The state government has no action plan to prevent deaths due to electrocution. According to the forest department the recent death was reported in August at Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Mysuru.
Wild animals have a habit of trampling the crops hence farmers use electric fences or barbed wires to prevent it. “There is a demand for barbed wires, electric fences, and meshes. The electric meshes have high intensity of current. 90 percent of the time farmers set it up in an improper manner that is the reason why animals die when they come in contact with it,” said M.C. Yackoob, owner of the Helix Fences.
Earlier this year in August the forest department promised to clear illegal encroachment near forest land. They also promised to build an elephant corridor near Bannerghatta. However no actions have been taken till now.
“We have taken several measures by organizing awareness programs. We are also visiting locals and trying to convince them not to use electric fences and telling them that if they do so we will arrest them or book cases. There are a few schemes like barricades, solar electric fencing. But we still do not have a proper action plan to address this and it is a very big challenge since it is a huge forest area,” said Saswati Mishra, additional chief conservator of forest, Project Elephant, Bengaluru.
Wild animals come in contact with the electric fencing or wires; they couldn’t sustain the shock and die due to heart failure. Experts said that the only way to prevent it is to make farmers aware about the consequences. “Elephants have a habit of trampling crop fields. Instead of electric fences farmers must be encouraged to use solar electric fences which have low intensity current. When animals come in contact with it they get a mild electric shock and they go away,” said Dr Madhav, senior veterinarian, PFA wildlife conservation center.
Despite a few measures adopted by the forest department there is a lack of a proper action plan to prevent electrocution. Hence the deaths due to electrocution still continue across Karnataka.