Electrocution of wildlife as a means of poaching is a growing problem in India and one state, Maharashtra, has called on its electricity distribution company to join the fight against poachers by taking criminal action against those who mis-use the electricity distribution network.
While most of the poachers use electricity to target herbivores for their own use or to sell the meat inevitably more iconic species such as tigers and elephants are caught in the traps and killed.
With an increase in poaching happening around its national parks and wildlife reserves Maharashtra State authorities are calling on the state distribution company to take action under the Electricity Act. This will mean that those who choose to use electricity as a weapon against wildlife apart from facing wildlife charges could face charges of:
- unauthorized use of electricity,
- theft of power,
- illegal extension of power and
- unauthorized meters.
In order to encourage the distribution company to undertake the prosecutions the forestry officlals have stated that they will deny permits for work on power lines in wildlife reserves and national parks if the electricity company fails to take action.
As well as prosecuting poachers under the Electricity Act the power company has also agreed to provide forestry officials with data and about tripping of the electricity network within or close to wildlife areas so rangers can investigate.
In return for the action the State will make it much easier for the power company to undertake maintenance in the wildlife reserves by cutting back substantially on the bureaucracy involved when trimming or cutting back trees in the reserves.