Shillong: ‘Naga chilly,’ the world’s hottest, could be the latest weapon against marauding wild elephants that have wreaked havoc in parts of northeastern India.

Called bhoot jolokia in the local Assamese dialect, the chilly pepper grows mostly in Assam. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed a non-lethal grenade from it that could be used in anti-terrorist operations. The DRDO and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are now working on developing the chilly into a powder that could be coated on fences and ropes to shoo off pachyderms.

“A WWF experiment observed that the chilly powder… when coated on fences and ropes that are erected on routes of the elephants can scare them away,” R.P. Srivastava, director of the Tezpur DRDO lab said. — PTI