Jalpaiguri: A tusker was reportedly electrocuted at Dakshin Milanpalli village near Gajoldoba in Jalpaiguri early on Saturday.
Villagers had allegedly laid open wires hooked to a high-power connection to deter elephants from entering their paddy fields near Baikunthapur forest.
Although foresters initially said the elephant was electrocuted, they later denied it. “The autopsy did not suggest electrocution. It was a natural death,” a senior forester said. However, villagers said the animal was lying beside bladed fencing next to a high-power wire.
Tapping power from high-tension wires and laying traps to stop elephants from destroying crops is common in Dooars and Terai. Over the past few years, the practice has also gained popularity among villages in the Baundangi area of Nepal’s Kakarvitta by the Mechi river on the Indo-Nepal border.
In Bengal, over 20 jumbos have died of electrocution in Dooars and Terai over the past decade. They have also allegedly died after consuming poison, which villagers put out as bait to stop them.