To reduce man-animal conflicts forest department of Tripura has decided to use GPS-enabled devices to track the movement of elephants.
A Bangalore-based company is entrusted to fit a radio collar around the neck of an elephant and the work is expected to be completed by December of this year.
Deputy Chief Wildlife warden K G Roy, “The radio collars will help us track the movement of the wild elephants. We can take measures to push them back to forests if found anywhere near human habitations.”
There have been 50 cases of elephant conflicts recorded since 2019.
Roy added, “We have settled 30 such cases so far. The rest will also be taken care of soon.”
West Bengal, Uttarakhand, and Chhatisgarh also use radio collars to minimize the man-Jambo conflict.
Roy said, “The state government has also embarked on a beekeeping project in agricultural lands to prevent elephant attacks and taken steps to grow bamboo and banana in the forests.”
“Their numbers began sliding, however, with the clearing of forests for construction of a hydel power project on Gomati river”, forest officials said.
“Elephants slowly migrated from the Gomati reserve forest area to Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, where food was available to them in abundance”, they said.
“Many pachyderms have also been targeted by poachers”, the officials added.
A senior official said, “the Tripura government has decided to set up an elephant reserve at Gandhari in the Gomati district for the conservation of the pachyderms”.
“The forest department has also moved a proposal before the state government for erecting solar-powered electric fences around some villages in Khowai district’s Teliamura subdivision, where several instances of elephant attacks in the recent past left at least one man dead and many others injured”, the official said.
“In neighboring Assam, the solar-powered fence has turned out to be a beneficial tool to prevent man-animal conflict in Rani Forest Reserve, near Guwahati”, he stated.
Roy said, “the state government has recently set up a camp at Mungiakami in Atharamur hill range of Dhalai district, where four elephants are being reared and trained to patrol areas, where man-elephant conflict is acute, and ward off herds if found approaching human habitations”.
“Kumkis are trained captive Asian elephants, often used for calming and herding other wild tuskers or to lead them away from conflict situations”, he explained.
“They also help in locating and rescuing trapped and injured elephants”, Roy added.