T.N. Forest Dept. uses Hindi posters to educate guest workers on human-wildlife interactions in Valparai

An awareness poster pasted by the Forest Department in Valparai town.

An awareness poster pasted by the Forest Department in Valparai town.

In an effort to sensitise guest workers from Hindi-speaking States on human-wildlife interactions in the Valparai plateau, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has pasted bilingual awareness posters, in Hindi and Tamil, across the hill station.

More than 1,500 posters have been pasted in and around Valparai town, covering bus waiting shelters, public places and quarters of labourers in estates, said M.G. Ganesan, Deputy Director of Pollachi Division of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR).

“We decided to use bilingual posters after noticing that many guest workers were victims of encounters with wild animals as they are not familiar with the terrain,” he said.

The posters caution people the dos and don’ts to be followed to avoid encounters with wild animals, especially elephants as there is an increase in their movement.

“The movement of elephants is high during this time of the year in the Valparai plateau as they migrate from the Kerala side. The breeding season of sloth bears also coincides. Our aim is to keep the public informed about the movement of animals and how to avoid close encounters with them,” said G. Venkatesh, forest range officer, Valparai forest range of the ATR.

According to the Forest Department, around 25 wild elephants are moving around tea, coffee estates and other plantations that come under Valparai and Manambolly forest ranges of the ATR at present. As the Valparai plateau is known for its mosaic landscape, elephants use plantations and estates to move between fragmented forest patches.

Iyerpadi, Lower Parley, Rottikadai, Waterfall, and Pudhuthottam are among places where elephant movement is high during the annual migration season. Sloth bears are often spotted in estates and a few estate workers were injured in close encounters with the animal this year.

The posters advise residents and workers living in estates not to venture out of their houses after 6 p.m. They have been asked to go as a group while returning to residences after work in the evening and ensure that they reach before 6 p.m. Bushes and vegetation around houses have to be removed.

As fruits such as guava, banana, jackfruit and mango attract elephants, people have been advised to avoid growing fruit bearing trees around houses. People have also been advised to not dump meat waste, leftover food, etc in open places as they attract wild animals including wild boar and leopard.

Visitors to the hill station who reside in resorts and homestays have been warned against venturing out in the night. Operators of resorts and homestays should not conduct night safaris. To sensitise visitors about the situation, posters have been pasted in places starting from Pollachi, said Mr. Venkatesh.

The department has also come out with an awareness video which is shared with the public, estate managements and is telecast by local cable TV channel eight times a day. In addition, forest staff conduct regular patrols and make announcements.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 11:57:56 pm |