With summer setting in and the State staring at drought, it is only natural that forest officials in 19 divisions are concerned about rise in man-animal conflict. Wild animals, especially elephants, are expected to venture out of their habitats in search of water and fodder and may encroach on farms adjoining forest areas.
The Forest Department is busy digging elephant-proof trenches, erecting solar fencing, forming elephant scaring teams and creating water facilities in the forests in preparation for the summer.
According to the Forest Department, about 33 persons lost their lives owing to man-animal conflict in 2012.
There were 15,629 incidents of pachyderms destroying crops in the last three years and compensation of Rs. 3.9 crore was paid..
C.P. Yogeshwar, who recently resigned as Minister for Forests, quitting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to join the Congress, had said recently that developmental works such as de-silting tanks in the forests and construction of check-dams had been taken up.
To further contain the menace, elephant-proof trenches in a 115.98-km stretch have been dug and 157.19-km-long solar fencing erected in the sensitive border areas of the forests. The plan is to construct trenches in an additional 93.72-km stretch and erect solar fencing along 318.6 km, he added.
As many as 143 teams comprising local people and forest officials have been formed and 323 poaching camps set up to lure elephants back into the forests. Forest officials have been provided equipment and material for the purpose.