‘Tamil Nadu committed to securing elephant corridors’ 

Published - August 12, 2023 12:52 am IST - COIMBATORE

Forest Minister M. Mathiventhan (third from left) at the inauguration of ‘Tamil Nadu Elephant Conclave 2023’ in Coimbatore on Friday.

Forest Minister M. Mathiventhan (third from left) at the inauguration of ‘Tamil Nadu Elephant Conclave 2023’ in Coimbatore on Friday. | Photo Credit: PERIASAMY M

Tamil Nadu is committed to securing elephant corridors, according to Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests.

At the inaugural function of Tamil Nadu Elephant Conclave 2023 in Coimbatore on Friday, she said, “The Elephant Corridor Committee has completed field visits in Tamil Nadu, covering all elephant-spread areas. As many as 42 corridors — 24 south of Palghat and 18 north of Palghat — have been identified. After the final evaluation, the corridors will be frozen for consolidation and follow-up actions.”

The Forest Department on Friday released a handbook on camp elephant management and a standard operating procedure (SOP) for handling orphaned elephants. Forests Minister M. Mathiventhan, along with Anamalai Tiger Reserve Field Director S. Ramasubramanian, also released a handbook on Boundary Night Patrolling Team. Mahouts and Cavadis of the camps in the Anamalai and Mudumalai Tiger Reserves shared their experience of working with elephants.

As many as 12 elephant rescue and relocation operations were carried out across the State in the last two years, said Srinivas R. Reddy, Chief Wildlife Warden. To facilitate safe passage of elephants near rail lines and oversee their movement, the Forest Department has begun using Artificial Intelligence-based systems, such as the latest one in Madukkarai, and drone surveillance, he said. 

Invasive species, a pressing threat to forestland, were also a point of discussion at the conclave. According to Forest Department estimates, 4000.54 hectares of six invasive species have been cleared in the State. R. Sukumar, Professor, Indian Institute of Science, called for a deep understanding of local ecology and different approaches towards the species.

The conclave brought together scientists, forest officers and civil society organisations to discuss the latest measures in elephant conservation. Minister for Housing and Urban Development S. Muthusamy, Coimbatore Collector Kranthi Kumar Pati, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Subrat Mohapatra were present. 

‘Yaanai Thiruvizha’ 

At the conclave, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) announced the launch of ‘Yaanai Thiruvizha’ in Tamil Nadu in collaboration with  the State government. The festival focuses on involving members of the public in awareness campaigns and activities around elephants over three months. “We have partnered with five to six NGOs from different districts to carry out the activities,” said Vivek Menon, Founder and Executive Director, WTI. 

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