A female elephant was electrocuted in the peripheral village of Satkoshia Tiger Reserve.

Forest Department officials and wildlife activists stumbled upon the carcass of the elephant, believed to be about 10 years old, in a paddy field in Tabeda village on Tuesday.

“Some miscreants had laid a trap in a paddy field for hunting down wild animals, deer and wild boar for meat. The elephant had perhaps got in contact with the live wire. The incident, according to the villagers occurred on Monday night,” said Kishore Chandra Guru, assistant conservator of forest of Angul Forest Division.

Authorities cautioned

In fact, villagers had reportedly informed Forest Department officials about frequent outage of electricity from their areas primarily due to incidence of deliberate electrocution. Dinabandhu Sahu of Tabeda village said, “miscreants usually set up a trap by hooking from 11 KV line. After wild animals come in contact with the trap, the electricity goes off.” Mr. Guru, however, said the Forest Department had not received such complaints from villagers earlier. The suspects, who allegedly laid the live electric wire in the paddy field to hunt wild animals, were absconding from the village. Honorary Wildlife Warden of Angul and wildlife activist Prasanna Kumar Behera, who rushed to the spot, expressed shock over the incident.

Regular affair

“Deliberate electrocution is a regular affair in these forest fringe villages. During past three years, six elephants had died in the area, possibly all deaths were due to deliberate electrocution. Had forest and police officials made sincere efforts to catch offenders in the past, it would have instilled a sense of fear among them,” Mr. Behera said.

“Lack of deterrence has emboldened the wildlife offenders. We are losing precious elephants frequently,” he said.

On October 24, the carcass of a male elephant calf was discovered in Kandhberini proposed reserve forest of Talcher forest range in Angul district. Local wildlife activists also suspected that the death was caused by deliberate electrocution. According to Forest Department statistics, more than 30 elephants had fallen prey to deliberate electrocution in the State. Similarly, more than 35 elephants had died after coming in contact with sagging overhead live electric wires in the State.