Nation Other News 25 Jul 2021 Andhra Pradesh to ke ...

Andhra Pradesh to keep rogue jumbos at bay

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | V.KAMALAKARA RAO
Published Jul 26, 2021, 12:37 am IST
Updated Jul 26, 2021, 6:37 am IST
Elephants avoid chilli smoke and one can burn chilli powder in gunny bags to protect themselves from wild animals
Andhra Pradesh Forest team giving training to villagers on 'Protection from Elephants' in Vizianagaram district. (DC)
 Andhra Pradesh Forest team giving training to villagers on 'Protection from Elephants' in Vizianagaram district. (DC)

VISAKHAPATNAM:  The Andhra Pradesh forest department has been conducting awareness camps to sensitise people about ‘man-animal conflicts’ with the help of wildlife experts. According to forest officials, the government is using three innovative, effective and low-cost methods - WhatsApp, ultrasonic apps, and chilli aromatic technique (CAT) or chilli smoke - to mitigate ‘man-animal conflicts’ in the reserve forests and revenue areas where elephant menace is on the rise.

Elephants avoid chilli smoke. One can burn chilli powder in gunny bags to protect themselves from wild animals. Similarly, elephants detect ultrasounds from a distance of nearly 10 kms and feel their enemy is ahead. People can keep the jumbos away from their habitations by switching on ultrasonic apps at night. The forest department formed a WhatsApp group ‘Save Pachyderms' to alert people and communicate with them directly in case of an emergency.

 

According to the forest department sources, the state has nearly 300 elephants. Around 50 of them have now been out of their designated enclosures like Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary in Chittoor. Around 40 jumbos roam revenue areas close to the forest in Chittoor, four elephants in Srikakulam and six elephants in Vizianagaram districts for more than a decade.

“There have been numerous instances of ‘man-animal conflict’ and some of them led to human deaths and property damages. We have left no stone unturned to control the jumbos and save the people from them. We adopted soft methods like the CAT, awareness campaigns through the WhatsApp group among others," Kurupam forest range officer M. Murali Krishna told this newspaper.
The forest department has even taken the services of a wildlife expert on elephants, Dr. Rudraditya from Himachal Pradesh, who toured nearly 15 villages in the state last week to bring awareness among the villagers and suggest to the forest team on how to handle the jumbos when they come close to plain areas.
Komarada mandal Kambavalasa sarpanch A. Venkata Lakshmi said, "We were told to use low-cost CAT to protect ourselves from jumbos. We were told to use chili smoke when the jumbos come close to our village."

 

Speaking to this correspondent, Dr Rudraditya said he had 18 years of experience in handling rogue elephants in countries like Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania, Thailand, and Nepal. The ultrasonic sound was tested in Vizianagaram district and gave successful results, he said while adding that this was the second time he visited the district after 2015.

“The same methods I applied in AP. Elephants killed my parents. I became a vet to handle elephants," Dr. Rudraditya said.

A senior forest officer said they had proposed an elephant camp at north coastal AP with 10 elephants, which migrated to Andhra Pradesh in 2007. “If it happens, tourism will be developed in the vicinity of Vizag, which will be projected as the executive capital of AP,” said a forest source in Visakhapatnam.

 

When contacted, the state tourism minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao said, “I will have a look into the proposed elephant camp before commenting on it.”

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