An eight-member team from Chinnakkanal that comes under the Munnar forest division, which has been instrumental in bringing down the incidents of man-animal conflict in the region, has won recognition for its efforts.
Taking note of its contributions in mitigating man-animal conflicts as well as in ensuring the protection of wild elephants over the past eight months, the Wildlife Trust of India has selected the team for its award this year.
Commenting on the award, Ramith M., State facilitator, Wildlife Trust of India, said the eight-member team had been selected for its work in ensuring the protection of the wild elephants and people in the region. “The Wildlife Trust of India has observed that the timely intervention of the mitigation team helped save the life of the people,” said Mr Ramith.
A senior Forest department official said that the Forest department had taken care to mitigate man-animal conflict in the Chinnakkanal region after a 60-year-old man was trampled to death by a wild elephant at Sinkukandam, near Anayirankal, in March.
“Kripa Bhavan Babu, a resident of Thiruvalluvar Colony, near Sinkukanadam, was trampled to death by a wild elephant. The incident occurred after Babu stepped out of the house to alert the neighbour about the presence of the wild elephant in the area,” said the official. It was in this backdrop that the Forest department constituted the eight-member team.
According to sources, over 42 people have lost their lives in wild elephant attacks in the Munnar wildlife division since 2010.
Manikandan, one of the watchers in the mitigation team, said that the team starts its work around 5 a.m. and finishes by around midnight. “We provide information about movements of wild elephants in Chinnakkanal, Sinkukandam, 301 colony, and Thondimala regions through Whatsapp groups. The messages will help people to be aware of the presence of wild elephants in the Chinnakkanal area,” said Mr. Manikandan.
“This apart, we provide the photos and location of the wild elephants in each region to the Divisional Forest officer (DFO) and other officials,” said Mr Manikandan.
The award will be presented to the team on December 2 at ‘Aa Aana’, a month-long exhibition to be held at Fort Kochi from December 1.