DEHRADUN: In a first in Uttarakhand, to prevent human-animal conflict, 'Tentacle Solar Fencing' has been installed in Gaindakhali village in Haldwani forest division in the vicinity of Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary.
Kundan Kumar, divisional forest officer, Haldwani forest division said, "The idea came to the fore after locals in the area shared their problems about attacks by elephants and other animals venturing into their fields and residential areas. We started working to find a way for the coexistence of humans with the wild. We humans share the planet with the wild and our policies should be such that they promote symbiotic relationship of the species."
The area has recited over 100 incidents in which deaths, injury and destruction of crops and property was reported due to conflict.
Different from conventional solar fencing which is designed like barbed wires on 4-5 feet iron poles supported by concrete on the floor, tentacle solar fencing is hanged from 15-feet pole atleast two to 3-feet above the ground.
The fencing is designed to keep elephants venturing into human populations and crop fields.
Officials of the state forest department said that the tentacle fencing cuts the cost to half and is 100% effective and damage-proof in comparison to conventional fencing.
The fence electrified by solar panels renders a 12-volt non-lethal low intensity shock to animals trying to venture or cross into human populace.
Residents of the village said that they have down paddy crop almost after six-years as elephants raids made it a business of loss.
Devendra Sawant, a resident of Gaindakhal village said, "It's been more than five months now and incidents of elephants crossing and raiding our crops have drastically reduced. We can't recall any serious incident in last five months. We all look after the fencing and its maintainance. There are other areas and villages nearby which are affected by human-animal conflict. This installation would help them too if extended."
The method is also being used in Bandipur Tiger Reserve which has proved a success, added the DFO.
PM Dhakate, conservator of forests, Western Circle commenting on the issue said, "The innovative idea is an effective one and we are already conducting a study in the area about human-animal conflict. If results are favourable the same will be tried in other areas which are plagued by human-animal conflict."
Over 71 per cent f land in Uttarakhand state is a forest land with diverse species of flora and fauna. The human-animal conflict claimed 58 lives in the year 2019, according to data of state forest department.
Total 259 were left injured in conflict with the wild. The number of deaths in year 2018 stood 51 while 239 got injured.