Poorly-maintained illegal fences to ward off elephants kill 40 people in Jhapa

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Surunga–The illegal electric fences and poorly-maintained sagging electric lines put in various places in Jhapa district to ward off the wild elephants has been a cause for major concern among the local authorities, as they continue to claim the lives of people as well as wildlife, including the elephants.

An elderly was electrocuted yesterday while two youths recently lost their lives to electric shock received from the poorly-managed homemade electric fences installed to prevent wild elephants. 

Over a decade, altogether 40 people have been reported dead who had received electric shocks from such unmanaged lines, informed Divisional Forest Office, Jhapa's Chief Bishnu Lal Ghimire.

"Not only this, these ill-maintained lines coupled with low-slung electric cables have electrocuted 11 mammoths with their young ones over this period," added Ghimire.

He shared the locals facing wild elephant menace have been illegally constructing the electric fences for preventing elephants from coming into human settlements and their farms.

"The locals should obtain permission from Divisional Forest Office, District Administration, District Police Office and Nepal Electricity Authority to operate the approved electric fence," viewed Ghimire.

Electric fence is often used for security purpose as it secures the perimeter of the place. It can be used as an ambush too but it could be dangerous if operated inappropriately and left unattained.

He said, "The wanton use of live wire has potentials to kill any animals or human coming in contact with them. No one has the right to leave naked wire unattended." Ghimire called for coordinated efforts to address this new man-made problem.

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