Hassan: Faced with the rising man-elephant conflict in Kodagu, forest officers have radio-collared matriarchs of eight elephant herds to help them track their movements and drive them away from human settlements if they stray too near.
Seeing the successful experiment with radio collaring the matriarch of an elephant herd in Engilakere, Virajpet last November, six herds are now being similarly monitored in the range, according to Deputy Conservator of Forests, Virajpet sub-division, Maria Christu Raja. Two more herds in Somwarpet division are also being tracked using the radio collar, reveals its DCF, Manjunath.
Owing to the dense forests, it's sometimes difficult to locate elephant herds merely 10 meters away and in such situations GPS collaring is of immense help , says Mr Raja.
"The location of the elephants received from the GPS collars of the jumbos is passed on to the field staff through a mobile app, helping them fend off any potential conflict situation by alerting people in the vicinity and driving the jumbos away. This helps in saving human lives," he explains.
Besides protecting people, radio collaring of the elephants has helped forest officials track elephant pathways with greater precision, understand the seasonal variations in the movement patterns of the jumbos and the behavioural differences of different herds and individual elephants.
While GPS collaring of elephants has been used in the past to study elephant ranges, it is being used for the first time in managing man-elephant conflict in the country, according to the officer....