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An animal activist checks the carcass of a bison, which died of electrocution in Alorna recently.

Bison poaching racket involving hoteliers operating in state

PANAJI: The recent death of two bisons after getting electrocuted in Alorna village in Pernem taluka has exposed how high voltage is used to kill wild animals visiting the fields and cultivations and usually, it is the poachers, who take advantage of this situation as wild animal meat like that of bisons has high demand in the state.
According to Animal Rescue Squad president Amrut Singh, copper wires are used to draw current illegally from the overhead high-tension electricity cables, which pass through the area and the services of an electrician or linesman are hired for this purpose by farmers, who try to keep the wild animals away from their fields.
“In the Alorna case too, where two bisons died of electrocution, the current was drawn from an overhead high-tension line,” he said and added that a bison’s leg was taken away by the poachers as the meat has good demand in the state, which is a tourist destination.
He said that a racket is operating in the state and it includes poachers, meat dealers, electricians and hoteliers, who use the high voltage electricity cables to draw current illegally and kill the wild animals. “The poachers take advantage of the fact that the bisons destroy the crops, while the farmers try to save the crops from destruction.”
“An ordinary person will not know which cable of a high-tension line is neutral and which one is charged. An electrician or a linesman is required for that and all of this work of connecting the fence of the field with the high voltage lines by way of copper wire is carried out during the night time. The wires are disconnected early morning. When a wild animal like a bison comes in contact with the wire, its heart bursts due to the strong electric shock and it dies. When the bison dies, meat dealers are informed and they strike a deal with hoteliers,” Amrut said.
According to the information available from locals in Alorna and also from the neighbouring areas, the bisons enter the fields, especially during the night time and destroy the crops. Hence, farmers use power fencing to keep these animals at bay. The power fencing is used only to save their crops from the bisons, who usually come from the bordering area forests in Maharashtra because of the destruction of their habitat due to mining activities there.
Bison is the state animal of Goa and is protected under schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act. There is a need to protect its habitat, which is shrinking, and also to create awareness about the importance of wildlife. A person accused of killing a bison can be sentenced up to seven years in jail. To prevent the poaching of bisons by electrocution, the government could consider underground cabling of the high-tension lines.

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