Forest officials chalk up plans to curb wild elephant trouble
Deccan Chronicle.| K.M.P. PATNAIK
The project is currently being studied by the government for feasibility
During the musth period, which usually lasts four or five months, elephants tend to grow more aggressive, said sources from the forest department. (DC File Image)
Vishakhapatanam: Forest officials have devised strategies to prevent wild elephants from entering human settlements and trampling people and destroying crops in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts.
While Srikakulam has five female and one male tusker, there are four females in Vizianagaram. The lone male elephant has been a cause for tension in these districts. During the musth period, which usually lasts four or five months, elephants tend to grow more aggressive, said sources from the forest department.
"Prior to setting up a rescue centre, we are planning to isolate the lone male elephant and shift it to the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park. That will mitigate the situation to a large extent,’’ said divisional forest officer of both districts, Venkatesh.
Meanwhile, proposals have been submitted to the chief conservator of forests and a formal permission is required from the chief wildlife warden to trap the animal.
He said forest personnel are selectively interfering with the movement of elephants, and 29 trackers have been alerting villagers regarding the elephants’ movement, instead of chasing them away.
Another option for the department is to set up a rescue centre at an appropriate location to prevent the elephants from entering villages. Although this requires tracts of land with continuous availability of water and greenery, two places have been identified for the purpose — Chandadingi and Juntukonda —in Vizianagaram district.
Kumki (trained) elephants and a number of mahouts drawn from Chittoor or Karnataka are needed to handle them, the DFO added.
The project’s expenses may run into crores and requires vast stretches of land because elephants prefer moving around, he said.
The project is currently being studied by the government for feasibility, Venkatesh said.