From 2009 to 19, India recorded 600 elephant deaths from electrocution, data reveals
Between 2009 and 2019, 600 elephants died from electrocution across the country, data provided by the Union’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change revealed. Of these, 116 deaths occurred in Karnataka, 117 in Odisha and 105 in Assam.
Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Maharashtra are the only states to have no such deaths, according to the data.
A senior official from the Karnataka Forest Department told The Indian Express that there have been unnatural elephant deaths in Karnataka in recent years. “The numbers have gone down, but every year we see 5 to 6 cases of jumbos dying from electrocution. In Kodagu, four jumbos died in July this year. While in October 2020, two male elephants died in Bannerghatta National Park in Bengaluru, four died in other parts of the state in September last year. These numbers are quite high. Elephants come into contact with electric fences installed by private owners. We are registering cases against them because most of them are illegally set up. The exact figure of the death of the jumbos by electrocution during the last two years will be gathered, ”he said.
Former Senior Chief Forestry Conservator BK Singh said that in nearly 75 percent of cases, those responsible for the electrocution are never caught. “I don’t remember any case in the last decade where someone has been prosecuted for electrocuting an elephant,” he added.
Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed that financial and technical assistance is provided to elephant range states and Union territories in as part of the center sponsored program ‘Project Elephant’ to protect jumbos, their habitat and corridors, to address human-elephant conflict issues and the welfare of captive pachyderms.
“The program also includes a component of free assistance in the event of death / human injury and material damage and loss of crops. The ministry had formed a working group to suggest environmentally friendly measures to mitigate the impacts of power lines and other infrastructure on elephants and other wildlife. States, UTs and power transmission agencies have been urged to take the necessary steps to comply with rules and regulations and maintain minimum ground clearance while laying transmission lines to minimize elephant kills by electrocution, ”he said in response to a question raised by BJP MP Rajya Sabha Roopa Ganguly.