Coimbatore

Elephant attacks continue to claim lives

Elephant herds straying into human habitations have become a cause for concern in fringe areas of the Reserve Forests in districts abutting the Western Ghats.— File Photo.

Elephant herds straying into human habitations have become a cause for concern in fringe areas of the Reserve Forests in districts abutting the Western Ghats.— File Photo.  

With another incident of a wild elephant killing a person in Gudalur in the Nilgiris, the escalating conflict situation and inadequate mitigation mechanisms come into sharp focus.

On Thursday night, Arumugam of Kollapalli near Gudalur was returning home when an elephant trampled him to death near his house. S.N. Thejasvi, Divisional Forest Officer – Gudalur handed over a cheque for Rs. 25,000 to his family and the remaining solatium of Rs 2,75,000 will be paid to the legal heirs in due course.

Of the eight districts abutting Western Ghats especially the Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri besides a part of Tirupur are witnessing incidents of conflict situations. The problem is more in the Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Erode and Krishnagiri.

Lack of fodder and water and fragmentation of the migratory corridor are cited by experts as reasons for the situation.

While the conflicts used to escalate during summer season, now even after a spell of showers the pachyderms are found to be migrating.

Solar-powered or battery-powered fences have proved to be ineffective. In a phased manner, the Department has commenced a drive of putting up of elephant proof trenches (EPTs). Close to 75 per cent of the conflict-prone boundary has been covered with EPTs.

In 2014-15, Coimbatore recorded elephants claimed five lives but during from April 1, 2015 and till October 1, 2015, already five deaths including that of a Forest Guard, were reported, officials pointed out.

NGOs have suggested clothes soaked in herbs allergic to elephants could be put up as flags in pockets known for elephant depredation.

The effectiveness of the idea and the cost factors are being assessed.

The Forest Department in addition to creation of fodder reserves and water troughs have positioned two kumki elephants – Pari and Sujay, in Coimbatore to chase away the jumbos.

The department says that in select pockets farmers have found bio-fencing – plants such as Cylindropuntia with thorns that cause an aversion to elephants – effective. The department has installed early warning systems at Dhaliyur, Sirumugai and Periyanaickenpalayam to sound alerts on the movement of elephants.

Coimbatore District Forest Officer M. Senthilkumar said if they proved effective, the same would be installed in all conflict-prone boundaries.

An effort to radio collar elephants in Western region had to be abandoned. The State government has also announced six task forces recently.



One more person trampled to death in Gudalur on Thursday night



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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:32:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/elephant-attacks-continue-to-claim-lives/article7717569.ece

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