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Elephant dies due to electrocution in the Nilgiris

In the last few years, six elephants have died so far after accidentally coming into contact with power lines in Gudalur and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR)

September 22, 2022 05:35 pm | Updated 05:35 pm IST - UDHAGAMANDALAM

The elephant that died from electrocution in Bitherkad on September 22, 2022

The elephant that died from electrocution in Bitherkad on September 22, 2022 | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A 15-year-old elephant died after being electrocuted when it came into contact with a power-line in Bitherkad forest range in Gudalur on Thursday morning.

Field Director of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) and Conservator of forests (Nilgiris), D. Venkatesh, stated that the death was due to accidental causes.

He said an electric power line runs along the road from Bitherkad to Patavayal, and on the left side of that road was a coffee estate. Areca nut trees are grown between the coffee plants in the estate, which had attracted the elephant to the area.

“Last night, a 15-year-old male elephant has pushed a palm tree into electric power line. The tree had fallen over the line but the line remained uncut. Furthermore, the elephant has pushed another areca palm tree near the power line supplying electricity to the estate. The tree has fallen on the line, which lowered it closer to the ground.

Later, when the elephant was moving from the plantation, the trunk touched the lowered power line and the elephant was electrocuted, leading to its death,” said Mr. Venkatesh. He added that a postmortem would be conducted on the carcass.

In the last few years, five elephants have died after accidentally coming into contact with power lines in Gudalur and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR). This is the sixth such death resulting from power infrastructure in the Nilgiris.

Forest department officials stated that this incident was different from the rest as the power lines had been well above the stipulated height, and that the elephant had only been able to reach it due to the tree having pushed the wire closer to the ground.

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