The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Electric wire kills elephant
- Villagers demand amendment of bill to protect their constitutional rights

Siliguri, July 26: A 20-year-old tusker was found dead on the banks of the Tangrajhora, a stream in Dhumchigara-Nepali Bustee area in the Gajaldoba beat of the Targhera range in the Baikunthapur forest division in Jalpaiguri.

Prima facie, it died when it came in contact with a fence, illegally connected to a high-tension wire, around 11 last night, said forest officials, who rushed to the spot today. They have lodged a complaint at Malbazar police station, mentioning that if anyone was found guilty, strict steps would be taken against him.

This is the second time that an elephant has been killed in this manner over the past one month. The first incident occurred at Kalabari in Naxalbari, Darjeeling. Both the elephants died when they touched electrified fences as they trampled across villages. 'It is definitely an ominous trend where people have turned desperate to protect their lives and property,' said Animesh Bose, an environmentalist of north Bengal.

'When villagers have necessary paraphernalia like, searchlights and crackers to stop elephants from entering the villages or to drive them out, they have no reason to use electrified fences to ward the animals off,' said M.R. Baluch, the conservator of forests, northern circle.

'The elephant is a Schedule-1 animal. If the medical report reaffirms our apprehension, we will again approach the police to take steps against those responsible for tapping electricity and killing a wild animal by electrocution,' Baluch said.

Ananta Roy, the state forest minister, told The Telegraph: 'I have told my officials to take legal steps against the guilty.'

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