Man-animal conflict in the State can be effectively controlled by erecting barriers such as electrical fences, said Raman Sukumar, Professor and Chairman, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore.

Dr. Sukumar who was in Chennai on Saturday told The Hindu that with the increase in the number of incidents involving elephants straying into human habitations and attacking the people, he said well- maintained barricades such as electrical fences should be erected along the village forest boundaries. Another method to control man-animal conflict would be to seek the assistance of local people. He said in the villages where elephants have strayed for the first time, the Forest Department should take the assistance of local people to drive the pachyderms back into the forest. Such a move would help in reducing deaths of humans and damage to crops.

In his opinion, those elephants that stray into human habitations which are not located close to the elephant habitats should be captured and sent to the elephant training camps in the State. There were not many complaints of elephants raiding crops or killing humans in large number as in Jharkhand, West Bengal and some of the northern States in the country, he observed.

At present, elephant training camps were functioning in Theppakkadu and Karugudi Range in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Kozhikamuthi in Anamalai Tiger Reserve. All the three camps had enough number of elephants. It is high time the Wildlife wing of the State Forest Department created a similar camp in southern districts. With the number of incidents in which elephants straying into human habitations and raiding crops on the rise in the southern districts, the Department should set up one camp in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tirunelveli and another in a centrally located place between Madurai and Kanyakumari.

Creating camps in the southern district would help in capturing the wild elephants and in the rehabilitation process. Such a move would also provide a relief to the people living close to the forest fringes in the southern districts, Dr. Sukumar added.