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August 11, 2017

On World Elephant Day, Humane Society International/India launches tip line to report illegal electric fencing in Kerala

High-voltage electric fences are illegal, cruel and deadly to wildlife; cash reward offered: +91 7674-922044

Humane Society International/India

  • Help prevent more tragic losses. Frank Loftus/HSI

KERALA—On the occasion of World Elephant Day, in the wake of frequent deaths of wild elephants due to electrocution from electric fences, the most recent being in Munnar, Humane Society International/India has launched a tip-line at +91 7674-922044 to report information on illegal high voltage (220V) electric fencing. The organisation is offering a cash reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the people involved in setting up these fences throughout Kerala.

Recent media reports show the gruesome deaths of three Asian elephants within the past month because of contact with live, high voltage electric fences in Kerala. The Asian elephant is a protected species listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Despite numerous instances of elephant electrocution in Kerala, the government has failed to take any serious action against their illegal installation. While erection of solar powered fencing to ward off wild animals from agricultural estates with a mild jolt is permitted, protection of estates and farms with 220V of electricity is prohibited as it has the potential to kill any animal or human who comes in contact with the live wire.

Sumanth Bindumadhav, wildlife campaign manager of HSI/India said, “Elephants as a species face enough threats as it is with shrinking habitat, competition for resources and poaching for ivory. The last thing they need is to be fatally electrocuted by illegally installed fencing. We can address elephant electrocution by ensuring fencing meets the legal guidelines and does not pose a threat to elephants and other wildlife. We also call on the Forest Department to team up with wildlife researchers and conservationists, to come up with a plethora of effective and proactive solutions in their armoury, to help resolve elephant conflicts with farmers.”

HSI supports the limited use of electric fencing in certain human-animal conflict situations, but only as long as the fence is professionally installed, maintained, monitored and the voltage is low enough to prevent harm to wildlife.

Thanks to its tip lines and rewards, HSI/India has been successful in identifying and arresting the culprit of Kerala dog bestiality, New Delhi Green park dog stabbing case, puppies burnt alive in Hyderabad and others.

Media Contact: Alokparna Sengupta, asengupta@hsi.org, +91 9849094113

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