Odisha: In the highest casualty of elephants in a single incident in Odisha, seven wild elephants were killed after coming in contact with live sagging wire in Dhenkanal district late on Friday night.
The harrowing incident took place near Kamalanga Village under Motanga police limits, and came to light after some locals spotted the elephants’ dead bodies lying near the village and informed forest officials from Parjang.
Following the information, forest officials rushed to take stock of the situation.
Sudarshan Panda, Additional Principal Conservator of Forest said, “We have received information about the death of seven elephants due to electrocution. Field officials are rushing to the spot to ascertain the circumstances under which the tragic incident had occurred,” quoted as saying in media reports.
As per media reports, the incident happened while a herd of 13 wild pachyderms had sneaked into the nearby areas of the village in search of food. Among them seven elephants were trapped to death by the high power lines.
Forest officials are being responsible for the deaths, since they were aware of the sagging lines at Dhenkanal and adjoining areas.
Dr Biswajit Mohanty of Wildlife Society of Odisha said, “We have repeatedly told the forest department about 200 spots in Dhenkanal where high voltage power lines are sagging and could endanger the lives of elephants, but no action has been taken. The deaths are unpardonable,”.
In India, elephants are worshipped as an avatar of Lord Ganesha, yet at the same time casual behaviour of forest officials leads to the death of innocent elephants.
The average annual elephant casualty, which was 33 in 1990, has now reached 73, one of the highest in the country.