Death Of Elephant By Electric Fence Prompts Warning

(13 June) Officials warned that ranch owners should keep the power volume of electric fences in nonlethal level after an elephant was killed by such fence on a ranch in Petchaburi province.

The ranch, which situated in Pa Teng district near Kaeng Krachan National Park, belongs to Mr. Naruenart Ketrat, 55. Rangers from the nearby National Park received the report from a local official and arrived at the scene to find dead body of a male elephant, estimated to be 5-7 year old, lying next to the electric fence.

Officials discovered that the electric fence, powered by 220 volt generator, had entirely covered the entire 25 Rai ranch owned by Mr. Naruenart. The rangers confiscated the generator to investigate whether the equipment meets standards required by laws.

Mr. Naruenart later told the rangers that he installed the electric fence to guard his ranch from wandering cattle and elephants which had destroyed his crops before. He said he was certain his equipment did not generate enough power to kill elephants. Nonetheless, he admitted that the fence has previously killed 2 cows from nearby ranch.

He said he heard the electric fence going off at 04.00 and inspected the site at 06.00 to find the dead elephant, which prompted him to report the matter to local official. Mr. Naruenart expressed his regret at the incident, saying that he had no intention to kill the elephant, and said that he is ready to take responsibility according to the law.

Mr. Monthian Tongnit, governor of Petchaburi province, said Mr. Naruenart will be charged with offense of killing an endangered animal. He said he has given warnings to ranch owners in the province to make sure their electric fences are not set at lethal level.

"What if it was human that touched it?" Mr. Monthian said.