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Experts warn Odisha against project to fit radio collar on elephants

A herd of wild elephant search for food in a forested area. File   | Photo Credit: AP

As Odisha is in the process of fitting elephants with radio-collar to track their movement and prepare a strategy to minimise man-elephant conflict, environmentalists have urged the State government to learn from the Chhattisgarh experiment. The radio collars fitted on elephants in the State had fallen off within days.

 

The Wildlife Society of Orissa, an environmental pressure group, raised concerns about the effectiveness of the radio collars and their longevity.

The radio collars were supplied by IISc, Bangalore, and they will be fitted on elephants of Chandaka sanctuary, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, and Similipal sanctuary in Mayurbhanj district.

 

“Radio collaring of elephants which was started in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India in October, 2018 in Chhattisgarh has not been successful as the collars dropped off or were removed by the elephants themselves within a short time, ranging from 4 days to a few months,” said WSO secretary Biswajit Mohanty in a statement here on Monday.

“Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and also playful in nature. A radio collar fitted on a tusker attracts the attention of the rest of the herd and some adventurous animal tries to tug at it with its tusk and pulls it off in the process,” he pointed out. Of the seven radio collars fitted, only one remained active.

According to him, a radio collar costs around ₹5 lakh and there were additional costs of at least ₹5 lakh a year to track the satellite signals and monitor the elephant. The pre-charged battery was expected to last at least five years, he said.

“We feel it is of utmost importance to carefully assess the effectiveness and durability of the collars, keeping in view the fact that the project failed in Chhattisgarh. Now their elephants are being visually monitored by ground tracking teams,” Mr. Mohanty said.


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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 11:39:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/experts-warn-odisha-against-project-to-fit-radio-collar-on-elephants/article36580001.ece

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