Third elephant death in 10 days in Malnad region due to electrocution raises concern

Reason for the death is not known yet

October 05, 2022 08:04 am | Updated 06:49 pm IST - Hassan

Incidents of human-elephant conflict have been on the rise in parts of Hassan district. File Photo for representation.

Incidents of human-elephant conflict have been on the rise in parts of Hassan district. File Photo for representation. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Three elephants have died in the last 10 days in the Malnad region allegedly due to electrocution, raising concern. Electric fencing, put up by farmers to protect their crops from the wild animals, is said to have caused the deaths.

Two tuskers were electrocuted at Channahalli in Shivamogga on September 25. A female elephant was found dead at Halekere near Ballupete in Sakaleshpur taluk on Tuesday. Deputy Conservator of Forests K.N. Basavaraj told The Hindu a five-year-old female elephant was found dead. “Investigation is on to ascertain the cause of death. We are waiting for veterinarian’s opinion on this,” he said.

Farmer arrested

The two tuskers came in contact with the electric fencing installed to protect maize in Channahalli village, close to Shettihalli forest area in Shivamogga district. The forest officials arrested Chandra Naika, owner of the farmland, who had allegedly put up the fencing violating the laws.

In Hassan district, man-elephant conflict has a long history. In the last 10 years alone, more than 80 people have died and around 50 elephants died.

Often, elephant herds raid coffee plantations and paddy fields causing a huge loss for the farmers. Many of those who died in elephant attacks were plantation workers. Whenever a death occurs, people of Sakaleshpur, Alur, and Belur taluks stage protests stopping vehicles on the highway. For decades, they have been demanding the capture and translocation of all elephants.

Whenever the protests intensify, the Forest Department capture a couple of elephants and translocated them. The department installed radio collars on several elephants to track the movement of herds so that local people could be warned about their movements well in advance.

10 deaths in 2021

Many farmers have put up solar fencing to protect their crops from raiding wild animals. A few connect the fence with an electric power line to ensure a higher level of security and that leads to the death of animals. In the year 2021, as many as 10 elephants died due to electrocution in the State. Earlier this year on May 27, an elephant was found dead with gunshots at Malasavara near Arehalli in Belur taluk.

The State government has decided to install railway barricades to stop the movement of elephants. The government earmarked ₹100 crores for the project. However, local people argue railway barricade is not the final solution. They want the capture and relocation of all elephants.

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