To thwart the increasing number of elephant raids reported in Malayatoor forest division in the district, the forest department is planning to introduce solar fencing along a 7 km long perimeter. According to forest officials, fences powered by solar energy would be installed in places where a high number of crop raids by the wild elephants are reported in the division.
B N Nagaraj, Divisional Forest Officer, Malayatoor said that solar fencing would be done at Thondathil and Kuttambuzha ranges of the division. “Solar fencing is much more effective compared to conventional fences. One of the major advantages is that we can save electricity from it. Solar fences will also work through out the day”, Nagaraj said.
In Thundathil range, solar fences would be erected at Panamchuvadu, Merancity and Palavanpady area. In Kuttambuzha range, fences would be erected at Mettanparayil and around Urulanthonni Medical Plantation. The forest department has allocated funds of Rs 15 lakhs towards this. Fences will be erected along a 1.5 km to 3.5 km perimeter. The fence is erected on metal posts having a height of 1.6 m. A solar panel, a battery and an energiser are the main components of a fence. High-voltage electric current (about 10 kV) will pass through the fence, and the wild animals will get an electric shock when they come into contact with it.
Kerala Forest Department also had launched a similar drive in Wayanad district where elephants trepassing into human habitats are frequently reported. The department had set up solar fences along a 30 km perimeter at Thirunelli area with the assistance of NABARD.