Coimbatore

Forest Department to study elephants using Coonoor slopes

A file photograph of an elephant herd near Coonoor   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Forest Department has taken up an exercise, for the first time, to study elephants using the landscape of the Coonoor ghat. The study is being done in association with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India).

According to Forest Department officials, little is known about the elephants that use this particular habitat range along the lower Coonoor slopes. The Department, with the help of conservationists and NGOs, has a better understanding of the elephant populations that use other habitats in the Nilgiris, including Gudalur and other forest ranges that fall under the Nilgiris forest division.

A top official of the Department said that around 12 elephants are known to use the Coonoor landscape, and efforts to better understand the animals will include various parameters of study, such as patterns of usage of the landscape by the elephants.

“We will study the types of fodder that drives these animals to climb the steep Coonoor slopes, including types of fruits and grasses, the seasonality of their movements, the quality of the habitat and their points of entry into the habitat,” said I. Anwardeen, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Conservator of Forests (Coimbatore Circle).

The long-term study of the habitat was ultimately an exercise to increase the knowledge base of the Forest Department regarding the elephants in Coonoor. “We suspect that these elephants were using the Kallar corridor and chanced upon the habitat in Coonoor and return to it each year due to multiple factors. We will study how long this habitat has been in use, and also come up with strategies to ensure the habitat’s continued protection,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 5:59:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/forest-department-to-study-elephants-using-coonoor-slopes/article32571384.ece

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