Bharathiar University blamed for not clearing bushes that draw wild elephants

Moreover, bamboo plantations draw wild elephants to the BU premises as bamboo is their favourite food.
Bharathiar University in Coimbatore.
Bharathiar University in Coimbatore. (Photo|www.b-u.ac.in)

COIMBATORE: The entry of wild elephants into the Bharathiar University campus near the Maruthamalai foothills in Coimbatore district is now a regular phenomenon. Often these elephants graze and leave the university lands without causing any disturbance. However, in some cases, human lives have been lost. A 57-year-old security guard who was engaged in duty in one of the departments was killed in a wild elephant attack on May 23.
Uncleared bushes on the BU property are the main reason drawing the wild elephants from nearby forests. Forest department staff found large pools of stagnant rainwater also attract them. They blamed the BU authorities for not clearing the bushes despite asking them to do so. The bushes include those of seemai karuvel, kodaivel, vagai and tamarind and neem trees.  

"We have met with BU authorities and asked them to set up Elephant-Proof Trenches (EPT) for close to 3 km near their side. The animals would find it difficult to reach their premises by crossing the existing EPT of the forest department. This was conveyed to them at a meeting a year ago. We also issued an official letter in this regard after the death of the security guard in May. However, still there has been no progress in preventing the human-elephant interactions," said sources in the forest department.
Hundreds of students are staying in hostels. Food waste discarded in the open by a few of them also attracts wild elephants and stray dogs. After tasting the leftover food, they visit the area repeatedly. Moreover, due to the frequent movements of stray dogs, leopards also enter and catch them as easy prey at night.

Moreover, bamboo plantations draw wild elephants to the BU premises as bamboo is their favourite food.

"During the meeting, the BU authorities told us that wild elephants damage the compound wall constructed for some distance along the college boundary. We asked them to set up a hanging solar fence by fixing an iron angle on the compound wall. But no steps have been taken by them," said sources in the forest department.      

The forest department officials also feel that a similar situation remains on the Anna University premises as its authorities are also hesitant to take steps to prevent wild elephant intrusion. Both BU and AU keep unused vast areas in their control.

Sources in the BU said that they have prepared a proposal for removing the bushes and are waiting for the approval of the Higher Education Secretary Pradeep Yadav who has newly joined. We hope the secretary will give permission and the work will commence soon.

"We will meet the higher education secretary once he gives an appointment and then we will convey the forest department communication letter to seek his approval for setting up EPT to prevent elephant intrusion," sources added.  

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