As the entire North Bengal rejoiced in the birth of three Royal Bengal Tiger cubs in Siliguri, there was disappointment, on the other hand, among the people, foresters and animal lovers after two elephants were found dead in the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) forest in Alipurduar on World Elephant Day today.
The carcasses of the two female jumbos–one sub-adult and one calf were recovered from the Bhutri-1 compartment of the Bhutri forest beat under the Hamiltonganj range of the West Division of the BTR early morning today, officials said. BTR authorities claimed that the elephants may have died after coming in contact with an 11000-volt electricity line passing through the forest.
“The iron pole and surrounding areas were electrically charged due to a short circuit, and the elephants may have died while passing through the area,” Field Director of the BTR, Subhankar Sengupta, said. The Forest Department has filed an FIR against the Electricity Department at the Kalchini police station, under which the site of the incident falls, it is learnt.
Animal lovers expressed shock and anger at the incident. “Forests and wildlife will be ruined one day. Nobody cares for it. The matter should be investigated and culprits responsible for the death of the jumbos must be punished,” said the founder member of the Alipurduar Nature Club, Amal Dutta.
However, the Alipurduar electricity department denied any fault in the 11000-volt line on that spot. “There was no fault in the line that passed through the forest. We found neither a short circuit nor electricity leakage on the iron pole there. We disconnected the line after we received information of the elephants’ death there.
The electricity supply was alright in the line earlier,” said the Divisional Manager of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd in Alipurduar, Dipen Khawas