To create a database of wild elephants that frequently enter human habitations, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recommended individual profiling of such elephants.
Apart from helping in easy identification and monitoring of an individual elephant, the profiling will help the Forest Department keep a record of its behaviour pattern and movement in a given forest area.
“WWF has already given training to the frontline staff of the Department in four forest ranges in Coimbatore division -- Periyanaickenpalayam, Karamadai, Mettupalayam and Sirumugai. The staff are trained to record peculiar identification features of an individual elephant for the profiling. Training for the staff in other forest ranges will be held soon,” said D. Boominathan, landscape coordinator of WWF-India.
Forest guards, forest watchers, anti-poaching watchers and members of the rapid response team were trained to document individual elephants.
Profiling of an elephant will include details such as its approximate height, age, gender, shape of tusks (in case of a male elephant), shape of tail, pattern of ears and any unique identification mark.
“A sample profiling done for tusker Vinayagan has included the unique pattern of the brush of its tail which itself will help identify the individual animal. The pattern of the elephant's tusks are also unique as they are uneven. It has also got a tear in one of its ears,” said Mr. Boominathan.
The profiling in first stage will involve documenting the unique features of elephants and giving them names like 'E1' (for elephant 1) and 'M1' (for makhna 1). In the second stage, photos of the individual elephants including views from the front, sides, back and photos of the unique identification marks will be added to the profiling.