Forest dept. to strengthen drive against illegal electric fencing

The step has been taken after a tusker was electrocuted at Sirumugai

The Forest Department has decided to strengthen inspection of farms adjoining forest boundaries to check whether farmers use illegal electric fencing.

The step has been taken after a tusker aged around 30 was electrocuted after it came into contact with an illegal electric fencing around a banana plantation at Puthukkadu village at Sirumugai early on Wednesday.

District Forest Officer D. Venkatesh said that the Forest Department officials have were inspecting farms near forest boundaries periodically.

“The department had started special inspections and surprise raids to check poaching when the lockdown started. The field staff were also asked to check the use of illegal electric fencing during such inspections. The farm where the tusker was electrocuted on Wednesday did not have fencing around it when the field staff visited the area a week ago,” he said.

Fences powered with direct current (DC) energiser, which leaves mild intermittent shock to scare animals, are allowed.

However, some farmers connect alternative current (AC) to the fences which leads to electrocution as the one occurred on Wednesday. The land owner had taken power to the fence from a pump house, officials found during investigation.

“It has been observed that farmers fix stumps around plantations late evening and attach thin metal wires to make temporary electric fences. This poses risk of electrocution to the field staff if they do inspections at night. We are also planning to create awareness among the farmers about the risks and legal issues of such fences as they can also kill humans who accidentally come into contact with them,” said Mr. Venkatesh.

He added that the Department will also seek the support of Tangedco for joint inspections in farms to curb the use of illegal electric fences.

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