Control elephant population: former WII Dean

Published - February 02, 2019 01:30 am IST - COIMBATORE

A.J.T. Johnsingh, former dean of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), said here on Friday that there was a need to control the elephant population in the country. Contraception could be a solution, as done in Africa, he said.

“In my opinion, the elephant population in the country needs to be controlled. Elephants can be neutered for birth control as done in some countries in Africa. They don't need to be culled,” he said in reply to a question on the ever increasing human-elephant conflicts.

“Around 500 people are killed in attacks by wild elephants every year in the country. No country will allow elephants killing its people,” he said.

According to Mr. Johnsingh, the main reason for elephants straying out of forests in search of fodder was the degradation of the habitat. “The size of forests have not shrunk significantly. But the quality of the habitat has reduced. Invasive species have spread fast in the forests. These are inedible plants, and the lack of fodder could force elephants to come out of forests,” he said.

Mr. Johnsingh said more focus was required on protecting three major elephant corridors in the south -- Aryankavu, Kallar and Mukurthi -- for smooth movement of elephants, and thus reduce conflicts.

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