Tale of tragedies in TN: Three female elephants died after getting electrocuted by an illegal fence!

The tale of tragedies faced by elephants are rising in Tamil Nadu as the human-wildlifr conflicts are ending up with elephants death in most times, like the recent event in the state's Dharmapuri district where three female elephats have died after getting electrocuted by an illegal fence that was erected in a farm. The visuals from the ground were dreadful as they have shown the calves standing beside their dead mothers. 

The three adult female elephants were electrocuted by an illegal electric farm fence near a village in Marandahalli, Dharmapuri late Monday - March 6. The incident had happened near the reserve forest at around 10.30 pm on Monday at Kali Kavundar Kottai village. The fleet had five elephants - three adult females and two calves. While the three females have died after getting electrocuted, two calves were saved after the forest officials have alerted the staff of electricity department to disconnect the live wire. 

The fleet was being tracked by the forest guard. When the officials lost sight of these elephants, they were informed about the incident that the elephants were electrocuted. The Hindu quoted the district forest officer KVA Naidu saying, "Our squad found three adults lying on the ground, along with a calf which was found alive. Immediately, we alerted the electricity department staff and disconnected the power supply." 

The deceased elephants were aged about 30 years old. The remaining two calves were roaming around the area after losing their mothers. Naidu further said, "We have to find ways to unite them with some other group." The illegal fence was installed by a farmer named K Murugesan to save his crops from wild boars. When the elephants tried crossing the fence, they were electrocuted. 

The activists say that this incident could have been prevented if the electricity department could have conducted regular inspections in the farms about illegal electricity supplies in the fences. Naidu said, "Regular drives and punishment by disconnecting power to the farms would have been a deterrent. But, because there have been no drives, it has emboldened the farmers." 

It has been reported that a case has been filed with this regard and the farmer, 67-year-old Murugesan has been apprehended. It is pertinent to note that there was a similar incident in Krishnagiri district a few weeks ago where an elephant was electrocuted to death by an illegal fence. In wake of such tragic incidents and human-elephant conflicts in the past, the Tamil Nadu government has brought a framework first-of-its-kind initiative in India. 

The framework was released by Chief Minister MK Stalin last November and it will be auditing the elephants' death. The framework would also be documenting reasons for elephant deaths for better accountability. Why the state needs the framework? Because, Tamil Nadu has been witnessing more elephant deaths due to electrocution. According to the last year's data from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, at least 79 wild elephants had died due to electrocution in Tamil Nadu between 2011 to 2021. Tamil Nadu's toll was second only after Karnataka which reported 98 elephant deaths due to electrocution during the same period.