A female elephant was killed due to electrocution last night inside the Army’s Narangi Cantonment that is part of Guwahati city, with forest officials confirming it to be a case of accident.
Guwahati-based Defence PRO Lt Col Suneet Newton said the female elephant was part of a herd of wild elephants that had on Saturday evening strayed out of the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary that shares boundary with the cantonment, and was found lying dead in the 222 Advance Base Ordnance depot area on Sunday morning.
“Elephant movement was noticed in the 222 ABOD premises at around 7 PM on Saturday, following which all guard posts were alerted and asked to stop patrolling. While guards at Post No 5 heard a lot of noise made by the elephants at around 11 PM, the carcass of an elephant was found lying entangled to broken electric wires in the morning,” Guwahati-based defence PRO Lt Col Suneet Tandon said.
A team of forest officials which rushed to the spot on Sunday morning on examination found that the elephant – a female between 12 to 13 years of age – had died to electrocution. “It is an unfortunate incident of accidental electrocution. The elephant most probably tried to pull down branches of tree, getting electrocuted in the process,” Dibyadhar Gogoi, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Guwahati Wildlife Division, told The Indian Express.
“Straying of elephants out of the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary has become common, and the attraction is more towards the Army cantonment because of presence of lot of greenery including tall grasses. Last year we had managed to save an elephant and her calf after the duo had fallen into a pond inside the Army cantonment,” Gogoi added. On Friday, elephants had pulled down portions of a boundary wall of the cantonment apart from damaging several hutments in a nearby village.
The 78.64 sq km Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary on the south-east fringes of Guwahati city comprises of three reserved forests – Amchang, South Amchang and Khanapara – and had recorded 47 elephants in the last count carried out in 2012. The wildlife sanctuary, which is also rich in forest birds and has a sizeable population of barking deer, sambar, leopards, cats and other wildlife, has been facing encroachment in the recent years.