The Forest Department has formed an 11-member expert committee to study elephant population of Tamil Nadu from 2006.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden S. Yuvaraj constituted the committee which has Shekar Kumar Niraj, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), as chairperson and S. Anand, District Forests Officer, Madurai, as member secretary.
Elephant experts Aiay Desai from Bengaluru, Sivaganesan from Chennai, C. Arivazhagan, managing trustee of the Indo American Wildlife Society in Chennai, veterinarians M. Kalaivanan, from Theni and A. Predeep from Chennai and D. Boominathan of World Wide Fund (WWF), Coimbatore, Nitin Sekar, coordinator of WWF in Coimbatore, veterinarian Sree Kumar from Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and a representative of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Southern region, Chennai, are other members of the committee.
The committee has been tasked to study elephant population and their movement in Tamil Nadu from January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2020.
As per Mr. Yuvaraj’s order dated July 4, it should look into various aspects of elephant habitat restoration and amelioration measures. The committee should come out with suitable comprehensive proposal with an estimation of cost for the restoration of the habitat related measures.
The committee has been requested to look into the human-wildlife conflict and the adequacy of the measures taken by the Forest Department. It should suggest suitable measures to minimize human wildlife conflict.
The committee has also been tasked to study the social economic structure of villages where human-wildlife conflict is frequently happening and to suggest suitable measures to educate the villages to minimise conflict. It should also look into the pattern of elephant births and deaths and to suggest suitable measures to increasethe population of elephants with reference to the habitat.
As per Mr. Yuvaraj’s order, there was an increasing trend of elephants straying from reserve forest areas to adjoining agricultural fields in the last 15 years.
The order says that the chairperson of the committee can also invite any other suitable members for conducting the study, report of which should be submitted to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden on or before December 31, this year.
Meanwhile, nature enthusiasts in Coimbatore, where 15 elephants died so far this year, wanted veterinarians and experts in wildlife who know the terrain well to be included in the committee.