Darjeeling: An elephant died on Wednesday at Balubari in Taribari under the Bagdogra Range near Siliguri in North Bengal. The elephant is believed to have been electrocuted.
In the early hours of the morning the dead elephant was spotted by the local residents. Immediately they alerted the Forest department.
Personnel of the Forest Department and the Elephant Squad from the Bagdogra Range rushed to the spot.
A post mortem was conducted. "Prima facie it seems that the elephant was electrocuted. As there is no naked electric poles or naked wires in site on this spot we believe that it could have been electrocuted elsewhere but died here. However we can only confirm after we get the post mortem report" stated Pemba Sherpa, Ranger, Elephant Squad, Bagdogra Range.
The elephant was a female sub adult of around 7 years of age. After the post mortem the dead body was disposed off.
A large gathered at the site. Villagers also offered pujas on the carcass.
With unchecked expansion of human activities into the natural habitat of the pachyderms, instances of man animal conflict is on the steady rise in North Bengal. This has in turn has resulted in the elephants venturing into human settlements in search of food and in the process losing their lives, often mowed by trains or electrocuted.
Death due to electrocution of pachyderms in not new to these areas. There are multiple elephant corridors in these areas. Often damaged electricity poles and naked wires in the elephant corridors cause grievous injury or even deaths to the elephants.
Since 2013 there have been 8 elephant deaths owing to electrocution. On September 10, 2016 two female elephants had died together in Kiranchandra Tea Estate around 15 km from Siliguri from electrocution.
There have been a number of meeting between the electricity and Forest departments over this issue.
Elephants have also been mowed down by trains in this area where railway tracks pass through jungles which boast of elephant corridors.
Since 2004, 63 pachyderm deaths have been recorded in the NJP-Alipurduar Railway route alone.