NEW DELHI: Concerned over the rampant incidents of elephant herds straying into human habitations and damaging crops, the Centre has suggested that all elephant range states follow the African model of using bee and chilly fences to deter the jumbos from raiding crops in order to minimise the human-animal conflict.
The matter was raised unanimously by MPs during the meeting of the Consultative Committee of Parliamentarians at the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, which was chaired by Union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar. The issue concerns 16 elephant states as every year nearly 400 people are killed in human-elephant conflict.
“The minister observed that the human- elephant conflict is a very serious problem, which has resulted in considerable loss of property and loss of life of people and consequent retaliation by local people leading to injury and death of many elephants,” said a senior official of the MoEF.
Javadekar had asked the Project Elephant Steering Committee members to find out how the problem was addressed by other countries. He was told about the modern techniques employed in other countries and also some, which were still in the development stage such as bee fences, chilly fences, SMS-based warning systems, lights, use of wireless networks and infra-sonic system for detection and deterrence of human-elephant encounters.
Supporting the use of modern technology for dealing with the human-animal conflict, Javadekar has advised the 16 elephant range states to use chilly and bee hives as bio fencers to check elephants from straying into human habitations.
“The minister also advised the setting up of an expert committee at the national level as well as at the regional level to study such issues and suggest viable and practical ways to deal with it. He further suggested that the expert committees devise site specific solutions for human-animal conflicts, which are increasing across the country,” the officer added.
Former IoFS officer S K Patnaik, who called for developing a strategy to deal with the situation, said that some of the existing elephant corridors had become redundant and many elephants were using new areas for migration.
The Steering Committee also discussed increasing ex-gratia payment for deaths caused by elephants from Rs.2lakh to Rs.3lakh.
Stress was also laid on greater cooperation and sharing of information among State governments on elephant movement to avoid conflict. Views of the committee were sought on translocation of elephants from conflict zones to suitable elephant reserves.