Shocking photos coming from Western Kansas going around on Facebook are confirmed in a news release from Wheatland Electric.
“Yesterday morning, a Wheatland Electric Cooperative line crew was dispatched on a routine outage call near Lakin, KS. Upon arrival at the service location, they found the meter off and proceeded to isolate the source of the outage. A Wheatland lineman patrolling line nearby discovered a bobcat that had come into contact with energized lines. The bobcat climbed to the top of a 35-foot electric pole and made contact simultaneously with a phase wire and a ground wire which resulted in the animal’s electrocution.”
The line crew used a bucket truck to remove the animal, assess any further damage to distribution infrastructure and make the necessary repairs to restore power to the affected meter. Once power was restored, Wheatland contacted the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism office in Pratt to report the incident. A local game warden from Deerfield was assigned the highly unusual incident and has been in contact with Wheatland personnel.
Since the 1970’s, Wheatland has made wildlife protection a significant part of its electrical system reliability goals. Wheatland attempts to protect all wildlife species including birds of prey, whooping cranes, raccoons, squirrels, snakes, numerous small bird species and more. Wheatland utilizes several methods such as the installation of rubber bushings on transformers, insulated jumper wires, sheet metal wrapping on certain poles and bird nest removal from substations to protect wildlife from electrocution. These efforts both protect valuable wildlife resources and help to improve system reliability for our members. For more information on Wheatland’s wildlife protection efforts please click here.
“This unfortunate incident is a valuable reminder that coming into contact with energized electrical lines can result in tragic loss of life to both animals and humans,” said Wheatland spokesperson Shawn Powelson. “We’d like to remind our members to assume any electrical line is energized, never go near downed lines and always report them immediately to their local Wheatland Electric office, the Wheatland after hours toll free number (800-ON-AGAIN) or local emergency management personnel.”