Agartala: A team of experts from the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), Bangalore has arrived here in Tripura to study the pattern of man-elephant conflict in the state and recommend ways to minimize the frequent encounters ,which are sometimes fatal. In the Atharamura hill range exists the state’s only elephant corridor spread across three state districts, but conflict cases are mostly from the Khowai district.
District Forest Officer Khowai, Jeya Raghul Geshan B, said, “Arrival of the expert team is part of the state government’s pilot project of radio collaring the wild tuskers to keep a tab on their movement.”
Sources said Padmashree-awardee veterinarian, also known as the Elephant Man of Asia, Dr KK Sharma, has already reached Tripura for field inspection. Escorted by Chief Wildlife Warden Praveen Agarwal and senior officials of the forest department, he has already paid visits to the areas identified as vulnerable to elephant depredation.
The experts, after their preliminary inspection of the conflict areas of Teliamura, also attended a closed-door meeting chaired by local MLA and Chief Whip of Tripura Legislative Assembly Kalyani Roy on Friday. In the meeting, elected representatives of the areas also remained present.
Official sources informed EastMojo that a detailed action plan is being prepared to minimise risks related to the man-elephant conflict. Only recently, two people died in separate incidents due to jumbo attacks and a few days back, carcass of a baby elephant were also found in the deep forests. The local communities, angered by the elephants out of forest areas, might take steps that could enhance the risk of conflicts. To avert such imminent incidents the meeting was organised.
The District Forest Officer said, “In 2020, we took up a project of radio collaring of elephants to track their movement. Roughly, there are over 40 wild elephants across the state, and around 25 of them keep moving in and around the Atharomura hill range. The Finance department has approved the project, and as a pilot project, two wild elephants will be radio-collared. The team of experts arrived here a week ago, and they have extensively inspected the identified locations. By the end of this year, radio collaring of two elephants would be completed”.
Apart from the radio collaring, some sensor-based technology will also be devised to keep the tuskers at bay, said officials.
Speaking on the issue, Principal Chief Wildlife Warden Tripura Forest Department Praveen Agarwal said, “Dr KK Sharma has already left, but soon he will visit the state again”.
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