The authorities suspected that the three-year-old elephant came in contact with an electric wire and was electrocuted.

Screengrab from a video showing a mother elephant trying to revive her dead calf in KeralaScreengrab
news Wildlife Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 13:15

A three-year-old male tusker on Tuesday morning was found dead in the forests at Malampuzha near Palakkad district in Kerala. The authorities suspected that the elephant came in contact with an electric wire and was electrocuted. A heart-wrenching video shows the mother of the three-year-old elephant trying to prod and revive the dead elephant in the hope that it will wake up. 

After news of the death spread, the Forest and Wildlife officials as well as the police and the local residents reached the spot. When the people arrived at the scene of the accident, three other wild elephants were guarding the one that got electrocuted, and were seen pushing it and giving signals to get up. 

According to a report in Onmanorama, the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Kurra Srinivas said that there was a live wire that connected to a borewell, and the elephant seems to have come in contact with it. Residents of the area told The New Indian Express that a herd of elephants had entered a private estate and the pump house located there. They have alleged that the elephant calf tried to chew a wire inside the pump house, and hence was electrocuted. 

Meanwhile, the authorities are now trying to see that the three wild elephants are moved into the forests so that the autopsy procedures of the dead elephant could be undertaken. The arrangements to bury it are also going on, said officials. A probe has also been ordered into the electric connections at the pump house and the estate, to ensure norms were followed and to check whether there were any lapses.

Warning: Visuals may be disturbing for some

Speaking to The News Minute, the Heritage Animal Task Force said that it has filed a complaint with the toll-free number of the Wildlife Department. "Live electric wires inside a forest should never be allowed. But this is happening in several places and instead of arresting the culprits under sections of non-bailable offences, they register a case under bailable charges and produce them in court. The culprits then go scot-free. So what happens is even if you kill an elephant you will get bail. This is like hunting. Now even if a man dies of electric shock (inside a forest), it will be charged under a bailable offence," says VK Venkatachalam, Secretary, Heritage Animal Task Force.

He stresses that a lack of punishment is the reason such incidents repeat over and over again. "This is the sixth elephant to die like this in Palakkad in recent times. Encroaching farmers with political influence are behind it. They might be setting the electric wires to catch wild boar or other animals and the elephants are probably falling into the trap. The wires I think are very low which is why it could catch a baby elephant," he adds.

With inputs from Cris

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