Forest officers are joining hands with power distribution company Southco to prevent the poaching of wild animals, particularly elephants, through electrocution in Odisha’s Ganjam district. The officials held a meeting at Bhanjanagar, about 80-km from here, on Tuesday to discuss strategies to prevent such cases, official sources said today. The poachers usually lay wires and hook it to an 11-kV power line passing close to forest areas. “The forest officers will intimate Southco about hooking in forest areas and the engineers will immediately snap power supply,” said divisional forest officer (Ghumusara-South), Ranjan Mallick. The officers will maintain a strict vigil in the identified vulnerable areas in the Ghumusara-North and Ghumusara-South divisions.
While 52 such vulnerable areas have been identified in Ghumusara-North, there are 80 similar zones in Ghumusara-South, he said. In the last three years, 10 elephants have died due to electrocution in the district along with many small animals like wild boar and barking deer. Southco has also been asked to raise the height of its transmission lines and fix electric poles with cement in the elephant corridors. The electricity poles which were damaged by cyclone Phailin last year are yet to be repaired. The meeting of the forest and discom officials coincided with the arrest of an alleged poacher at Buduli village under Muzagarh forest range.
“The man had laid wires to electrocute animals. A wire about 300-m long was seized from the spot,” said forest ranger KC Pradhan.