Hassan: The Hassan forest department plans to use a night vision drone to keep tabs on the movement of elephant herds, especially in the Sakleshpur region, where they often stray into human habitats, leading to frequent man-animal encounters.
Forest officials hopes to deploy two more drones during the day as well to help them drive the straying jumbos back into the jungles. Deputy Conservator of Forests, Hassan, Sivaram Babu reveals the drones will be available in a week's time as the tender process has already been set in motion.
Elephant researcher, Vinod Krishnan of the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), finds the night vision drone a safe option to locate elephants at night, pointing out that they can now be tracked even under a canopy of trees without causing them any harm.
But some wildlife activists are against the idea of using the drones for driving elephants back into the forests during the day as they believe they could get agitated in places like Hassan where the jungles are fragmented.
They point out that the Rapid Response Team (RRT) is already doing a good job of bringing down human casualties in encounters with elephants in Hassan as there were only two deaths of villagers in the area in 2018 as against four on an average in previous years.
The forest department had in collaboration with NCF started sending bulk SMS alerts to residents in Alur and Sakleshpur taluks on elephant presence in their areas a couple of years ago and had also installed signboards on their movement to curb man-elephant conflict in the region....