Infrared rays to track movement of elephants in conflict zones

The Forest Department officials are working on a conflict zone map to identify the areas that frequently witnessed human-animal conflicts and these pockets would be prioritised for installing infrared enabled warning system.

Hotspots

According to District Forest Officer M. Senthilkumar, deaths and damage due to crop raids by elephants are common during summer in Coimbatore, Booluvampatti, Periyanaickenpalayam ranges especially in Thondamuthur, Kuniamuthur, Thadagam, Kanuvai and Periyanaickenpalayam areas.

Under the new warning system, infrared rays would pass between two pillars that will be installed along the conflict-prone pockets, especially in well known exit points.

Short message service

Whenever an elephant passes through the pillars, the disruption in infrared rays will trigger a short message service (SMS) to five pre-determined mobile numbers.

The five mobile phone numbers would include those of the two or three forest officials in-charge of the range and the village heads. This would help them keep away from the exit point. The idea was mooted last year.

Cost factor

The department is planning to commence installation of the warning system from July end and complete it before the commencement of the dry spell next year. Each unit will cost Rs. 1.1 lakh. In the existing forest boundary, the Department has already created elephant proof trenches and erected solar fence.

Fodder reserves

Creation of fodder reserves and elephant trenches has helped in reducing the conflict instances to a considerable extent this year and now with the wet spell having begun, the pachyderms have started moving deep into the jungles, the official sources said.

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