A meeting of ‘Peaceful Coexistence,' convened by the Forest Department at Munnar on Saturday, decided to take some urgent steps to prevent attacks by animals in the estate areas, and to monitor whether the traditional elephant corridors had been blocked resulting in animals treading to human-inhabited areas.
The meeting was held in the wake of an incident in which a wild elephant trampled to death an estate worker at Kadalar last week. Several incidents of human-animal conflicts have been reported from the estate areas recently.
Munnar Divisional Forest Officer Induchoodan told The Hindu that red and green lights would be set up in human-occupied areas to alert people about unsafe and safe places. “This has been done in Valpara and was proved a success,'' he said. One of the reasons for the increased incidence of man-animal conflict was the lack of awareness among people of animal behaviour. “One should not enter the critical distance area of a wild animal and people often breach the rule. There is a personal boundary for each animal and man should respect it,” he said.
The main areas where wild elephants enter are Kadalar, Kallar, and Anayirangal dam. “If people have been rehabilitated in these areas, blocking the traditional path of wild elephants, a memorandum will be submitted to the government to consider rehabilitating them to safer areas,'' he said. People complained that in Kadalar two elephants often moved in human-inhabited areas. A three-member team had been appointed to monitor the elephants for three months, and steps would be taken to drive them to the core forest areas, he said.
Eucalyptus plants would be removed and indigenous varieties of trees would be planted in forests, he said. If bamboo varieties were planted in a big way, the elephants wandering out for want of food could be prevented, he said.