The Forest Department is in earnest to address the issue of man-elephant conflict. It plans to assess the conflict areas and record the details through the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping to develop a specific insight into the reasons for the conflict.
According to information gathered by The Hindu , a team of 20 forest officials deputed for the purpose in the Mysore Elephant Reserve were involved in a workshop two weeks ago to apprise themselves of various parameters in the conflict areas. The reserve comprises Mysore, Mandya, Bangalore, Chamarajanagar, Bandipur, Nagarahole, Kodagu and Hassan areas stretching to 8,000 sq. km. The report that the Forest Department compiles once in three months on conflicts and damages will also be used, said Ajay Mishra, Field Director, Project Elephant here. Accurate readings of the latitude and longitude of the study area would be recorded for the purpose of mapping the conflict areas.
The GIS data is fed into the computer to get a proper view of the exact problems, including the nature and scope of the conflict. The Forest Department considers September-February period as the major conflict period in the State. The officials had already conducted field investigations in certain selected or vulnerable areas of the Mysore Elephant Reserve from September 2009 to March 2010. Those observations too would be taken into consideration while arriving at specific data, Mr. Mishra, who chaired the workshop at the Aranya Bhavan here, said.
Other aspects being assessed during the field investigations include location of the conflict areas, whether the solar fencing is effective, whether the elephant-proof trenches (EPTs) are effective or to what extent they are required to be dug, and so on. Other aspects, such as crop loss that has occurred due to elephant depredation, its comparison with the previous year, whether the conflict area has shifted from the normal range to any other range, movement of the elephants and its pattern, would also be taken into account, Mr. Mishra said. Such minute details would help the Forest Department to understand the man-elephant conflict situation better than before.
Following this, the department would request the Government to initiate suitable measures to reduce the man-elephant conflict as funds are very crucial in this venture to introduce various measures to bring down the incidents, he said.