A wild elephant and its calf were electrocuted by a trap laid by poachers in a cashew orchard near Kanakhai village under Rambha section of Khallikote forest range in Berhampur forest division in the wee hours of Sunday. The incident occurred within 24 hours of a similar killing of a mother and calf by poachers in a cashew orchard near Karadabani in Galeri range of North Ghumusar forest division in Ganjam district.
Khallikote forest ranger Bijay Kumar Hota, who reached the spot said the age of the mother elephant was around 35, while its dead calf was about two-month-old.
According to the post-mortem report, both pachyderms died due to electrocution. But, forest officials did not find any naked wires used for setting electrical traps near the the elephants.
The poachers also made an attempt to bury the elephants in a ditch dug by them and cut down the legs of the elephant. Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sudhansu Sekhar Mishra said the culprits behind the killings have been identified. They were absconding and the DFO hoped that they would be arrested soon. He suspected that the poachers had set the trap to kill wild boars and other small animals, but unfortunately the elephants fell prey.
Mr. Hota suspected that the calf that was killed may be the one that had fallen into a well on October 4 at Kumutibandha in Rambha forest section. It was rescued from the well by five female elephants.
This year, five wild elephants have been killed in Ganjam district by electric traps set by poachers.