Elephants can walk tall in South Odisha forests

first_imgIncreasing the height of electric poles and using rings of metal spikes around them have resulted in reduced number of electrocution deaths of wild pachyderms in the elephant corridors of south Odisha.According to the authorities of Southco Utility, involved in power distribution in south Odisha districts, by the end of March 2018, most elephant corridors in the region would be safe for wild elephant herds.“The third phase of the project, taken up to save wild elephants from electrocution in their movement areas, is expected to be over by that time,” said general manager (GM) Southco Utility, P.K. Choudhury.The thrust on electrification of remote villages in forest areas increased the danger of electrocution of wild elephants manifold. Effective measures such as increasing the height of electricity supply poles, using metal spikes around them as fencing were initiated to protect the wild elephants moving in the area.Effectiveness of this project can be assessed from the data compiled in Khallikote forest range under Berhampur forest division in Ganjam district. Five wild elephants had died in this forest range due to electrocution between June 2010 and October 2012. After that, no elephant death due to electrocution occurred in this forest range because of the measures taken to protect wild elephants from electrical supply lines, said forest officials.Intermediary polesUnder this project, intermediary poles are used to hold naked electricity supply cables up so that they do not sag and touch elephants moving in the area. Generally, the height of electric poles is eight meters but in the elephant corridors their height is nine meters. Added to it, rings of metal spikes are being used on these poles. These spikes prevent wild elephants from coming close to the poles. Earlier, the elephants were tilting and uprooting these poles leading to their electrocution.In the first and second phase, these measures were initiated in 116 locations in Ganjam, Boudh, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Koraput districts at a cost of ₹2.66 crore. The third phase of the project is covering 309 locations in Gajapati, Ganjam, Boudh, Kandhamal, Koraput and Rayagada districts in south Odisha at an estimated cost of ₹22.64 crore.last_img

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