A team of Wildlife Biologists from Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), a Mysore-based Wildlife Research organisation, have developed a warning light, which can be installed to alert people on elephant movement in the Valparai plateau.
It has been successfully tried out on the field.
Sharing the information with The Hindu, M. Ananda Kumar, Wildlife Biologist from the NCF, now based in Valparai, said the team developed an LED light, which could be mounted on a 10-foot high pole and installed atop a bus stop or house in the plateau.
It could be switched on or off manually and using cellular phone GSM technology. Its visibility would be half a kilometre.
The light has a SIM card wherein three to four cellular phone numbers could be stored. Anyone who has stored the number in the light could switch it on whenever they see elephant movement, he said. The cost of installing each light is Rs.8,000 and it is an eco-friendly product, which will not consume more than one or two units a month, he said.
The invention is the outcome of a 15-year study by them on the man-animal conflict in which more than 30 people are killed annually owing to lack of information about the movement of elephants in the plateau.
The team had collected baseline data on the movement of elephants, the number of elephant herds that regularly visit the plateau, the peripheral herds that visit occasionally, the period of year in which they visit the place and related information.
Their observation showed that the animals visited the plateau between October and February and their targets are ration shops, kitchens of houses and noon meal centres where vegetables, rice and salt are stored. The human deaths took place between November and January.
Another interesting observation is that whenever the herds sight human beings inside a house, they target only the kitchen and never attempt to attack anyone, Mr. Ananda Kumar said.
At present the team is presenting a demonstration about the warning light to tea estates, Forest Department officials and others. The Forest Department and tea estate officials have showed keen interest and plan to install the lights within a month, Mr. Ananda Kumar added.