Endangered wildlife faces a new threat – high-tension electrical wires that pass through core forest areas in the State.

In the last couple of days, two elephants were electrocuted in Krishnagiri district and a slender loris in Dindigul.

S. Bharathi Dasan of Arulagam, a Coimbatore-based wildlife conservation and research organisation, said that in the hillocks, wires dangle at a low level, posing a threat to wildlife. Even the death of elephants in Denganikottai in Krishnagiri district was caused by high-tension electrical wires hanging low. Similarly, in Valparai, endangered lion-tailed macaques often got electrocuted. Studies have been done in this regard by researchers. Another major victim of high-tension wires are fruit-eating bats which die in large numbers, Mr. Bharathi Dasan said.

In neighbouring Karnataka, the Wildlife Conservation Foundation, State Forest Department and Electricity Board authorities have jointly taken efforts to re-align high-tension wires from Bhadra Tiger Reserve. The wires were taken out of the sanctuary and re-routed outside the core area of the tiger reserve. It was a coordinated effort by NGOs and government departments, Mr. Bharathi Dasan said.

Similar efforts could be made in Tamil Nadu also, which could save endangered wildlife.

Wildlife enthusiasts said that high-tension wires pass through core areas in many parts of the Western Ghats. In some cases, the wires are located deep inside forest areas and wildlife getting electrocuted was not even reported from these interior areas.

A senior wildlife officer said that so far the need for re-aligning high-tension wires that pass through dense forest areas had not been felt as these were not viewed as a serious threat to wildlife.

The department has not taken any concerted effort to re-align the wires particularly in the core areas in the tiger reserves. It is time something serious was done to solve this problem, the officer added.