Forest dept, Southco discuss steps to stop poaching by electrocution

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Berhampur: With five elephants and a wild boar being electrocuted in the district in a fortnight, forest officials and engineers of power distribution company Southco have decided to jointly raid villages in Ganjam district to track poachers.

"We have decided to conduct joint raids in vulnerable pockets of the jungle to crackdown on acts of wildlife poaching through electrocution," said a senior forest officer.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting at Chhatrapur, the district headquarters town of Ganjam on Tuesday in the wake of electrocution of five elephants and a wild boar in the district within a fortnight's time, the official said.

The forest officials would identify the vulnerable villages with regular meeting between engineers of Soutcho and divisional forest officials to locate the problems and devise a crackdown.

The poachers lay live electric wires to hunt small animals in the forest areas. The animals die after getting entangled in the wires.

While five jumbos died in past 15 days, as many as nine elephants succumbed in Ganjam in past two years, while at least ten small animals like wild boar, blackbuck and deer died during the period. All died after coming in contact with live wires, forest department sources said.

Forest officials also suggested the power distribution companies install circuit-breakers, use insulated transmission wires and erect tall poles to prevent the death of the elephants.

"These measures will not only save the wild animals but also help the power distribution company to check hooking," said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) JD Sharma.

The meeting was also attended by Forest Secretary R K Sharma, District Collector Kishan Kumar, SP (Ganjam) Ashish Sigh, SP (Berhampur) Prateek Mohanty, Regional Chief Conservator of Forests, Berhampur Jitendra Kumar, senior engineers of Southco and divisional forest officers from Berhampur, Chilika, Ghumusara South and North.

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