Jumbo found dead in field

Ranger rules out electrocution

By Avik Chakraborty in Dibrugarh
  • Published 14.10.17
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The jumbo carcass in a paddy field in Gorudhoria in Dibrugarh on Friday. Telegraph picture

Dibrugarh, Oct. 13: A female wild elephant was found dead in a paddy field in Gorudhoria village of Lezai-Kalakhowa area in Dibrugarh this morning.

Lezai-Kalakhowa is 22km from Dibrugarh. A team of forest personnel rushed to the spot after some villagers informed them about the dead jumbo.

Forest ranger Sanjib Bordoloi told The Telegraph that the elephant, aged around eight years, was found dead but the exact cause of death is yet to be ascertained. He said no injury mark was found on the carcass during preliminary examination.

"The elephant was part of a wild herd which strayed out of Dehing-Medela reserve forest. The herd, consisting 70 to 80 wild elephants, had stepped out of its habitat in search of food which is common during this season. It may have died of some ailment. There were no signs of injury or electrocution. The carcass has been buried after autopsy," Bordoloi said.

Although the ranger denied electrocution as the possible cause of death, live electric wires were seen on ground level in the paddy field where the carcass was found.

Electric wires are put up by farmers around their fields to prevent elephants from destroying their crops. In the past 11 months, three elephants have died in the area from suspected electrocution while one jumbo died of poisoning. Although the forest department has filed FIRs in all the instances, no action has been taken against anyone so far. "Last winter, three wild jumbos died in the same area because of electrocution. They come in contact with such wires at night and die. Forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma had said the government will take steps to reduce man-elephant conflict but it has been seen that the conflict is rising,'' nature enthusiast Nakul Khound said.

In 2005, the US Fish and Wildlife Service sanctioned Rs 5.3 lakh under the Asian Elephant Welfare Fund for construction of a three-strand electric-powered fence along Dehing-Medela reserve forest to check elephant depredation in the area but now elephants easily move into the village as the fence broke down a few years ago.