Human deaths in elephant attacks decline in three forest divisions


Forest Department working on real-time elephant monitoring system

The three forest divisions in the region -- the Nilgiris, Gudalur and Coimbatore -- have seen a decline in the human deaths due to elephant attacks, according to the statistics provided by the Forest Department.

While 26 persons were killed in human-elephant conflicts in 2018-19 (financial year), the toll up to December 31 was 17 in 2019-20.

However, the Nilgiris forest division, which did not have any human deaths due to elephant attacks in 2017-18 and 2018-19 witnessed the death of two persons in 2019-20.

Additional Principal Conservator of Forests Debasis Jana, (Chief Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle) said on Friday that the decline in deaths was registered even when the department was working with 65% of the sanctioned strength of forest staff.

Minimizing response time

According to him, the department was taking multi-disciplinary approach to bring down human casualties caused by elephant attacks. “We are working towards minimizing the response time taken by department staff to reach human-elephant conflict zone when conflict situation comes up. This cannot be achieved with the effort of the staff alone. Human-elephant conflict resolution committees will be formed involving local people to further improve mitigation measures,” said Mr. Jana in an interactive session held for forest officers and representatives of various non-Governmental organisations in Coimbatore.

He said that the department was also taking efforts to make fodder and water available inside the forest to reduce incidents of wild elephants entering human habitations.

According to Mr. Jana, the department was awaiting allocation of funds to set up a real-time elephant monitoring system that uses thermal camera to track animal movement.

Thermal cameras

“We have sent a proposal for the real-time elephant monitoring and alert system which requires about ₹7.2 crore. The thermal cameras of the system can detect elephant movement from a distance of three to four km. The proposal has been approved by the Government. We hope that the Finance Department would soon allocate funds,” Mr. Jana said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 7:25:06 AM |

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