By Prabhati Nayak Mishra
Shocking fact: Court observed poaching has been resorted by drawing lines from the high tension power lines running over wildlife sanctuaries to electrocute wildlife
The Centre has admitted that at least 88 wild animals mostly elephants, sambar, boar and endangered ones like Rhino were poached by drawing lines from the high tension power lines running over wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
Filing an affidavit, the Ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has informed the Supreme Court in response to its November 5, 2014 order seeking details about the number of death of wild animals due to poaching through electrocution.
The court had observed that "of-late poaching of wildlife has been resorted by drawing lines from the high tension power lines running over wildlife sanctuaries and reserved forests in order to electrocute the wildlife inhabiting such forest areas."
Pursuant to that, environment ministry sought details from all states and state-wise details have been filed through the affidavit.
As per the ministry, maximum cases were recorded in Odisha which had around 39 such deaths of animals like Elephant, Sambar and Boar. It was followed by Assam which had 24 Rhino deaths.
Besides, West Bengal had 12 Elephant deaths and Meghalaya had 13 Elephants deaths due to electrocution in the recent years.
In their reply to environment ministry, state of Uttarakhand has said 26 elephants were killed but the government has not attributed them to poaching but they were accidental. Some governments even explained that several times villagers kill animals like elephants in retaliation to protection of their crops and lives.
Further, the ministry said that developmental projects including those of transmission lines passing through protected areas need a go ahead from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). Since 2013, seven such proposals have been recommended by the Standing Committee of the NBWL.
The apex court had given environment ministry time till January 6 to file the affidavit and the matter is likely to be listed for hearing next week.