Kottayam: Confronted with the issue of man-animal conflict, Silent Valley National park authorities are seriously looking for ways to prevent elephants from straying into human settlements, so that people could live in peace.
Last year, almost 50 elephant encroachments to agricultural lands were reported outside the fringe areas of the park. They destroyed crops and played with the livelihood of the people. It is noted that elephants strayed into human habitations in search of food items — mainly jackfruits and plantains.
The threat to land and people from wild elephants has led to a fall in the prices of land in areas surrounding the national park, also as crops are often being destroyed. “We are in a predicament, as we could not find a solution to elephant encroachments to agricultural lands in search of food. Farmers are naturally upset, and they tend to blame the forest staff of incompetence,” said wildlife warden of Silent Valley National Park, Cheriyan Kunju.
The authorities are unable to evolve a strategy to overcome the problem owing to various reasons including the presence of uncultivable lands in the buffer zones of the national park.
“Most of the buffer zones surrounding the national park are not good enough for cultivation.
They are filled with rocks. As a result, we are not able to set up a nursery to grow fruits inside the park, that would be of help to elephants, and might solve the problem of their encroachments,” Kunju told DC. He said forest officials were seized of the matter and hope to find a solution soon.