Heaps of ragi and plantains have been placed in select spots along the forest boundary for sample testing of an “elephant-repellent” here in Denkanikottai.
Herboliv, manufactured by a private manufacturer and marketed as a “wild animal repellent and crop promoter,” is being tried out by the Forest Department here in select spots in Denkanikottai.
“We are not familiar with the product by a private manufacturer. We invited them to sample testing in our area. The result was not fully satisfactory since it was just a sample area and remains to be time-tested on a larger area,” says E.Rajendran, District Forest Officer, Hosur Forest Division.
The ratio of the mixture is 1 litre of the organic compound to 9 litres of water.
The organic compound emits an odour that tends to repel wild animals, claims the product brochure. “We heard about the product tested and certified by the TNAU, Coimbatore. The product has been tried in isolated fields in Coimbatore.
“While it may have worked in Coimbatore fields that have been rampaged by one or two elephants, it is unclear as to how it would work on a migratory herd of 60 or more elephants,” says Mr.Rajendran.
However, farmers seem to be less enthused by a little-known spray to allow it to be tested on their fields. Also, since ragi fields - the preferred haunt for the migratory animals have largely been harvested, the department has purchased ragi and banana plantains in the market to test the product.
The department is equally concerned about bio-diversity conservation. The product brochure claims that the mixture when sprayed on crops weans away wild boars, deer, peacocks and rodents besides “improving shelf life” of the crop.
“We had concerns over the spray having an adverse effect on livestock or crops,” says the DFO. For now, the department has taken up the experiment in all earnestness albeit with a bucket-full of salt.