February 4, 2018
The Times of India
KOZHIKODE: Farmers in Wayanad district are now a happy lot.
Hundreds of them have deployed an innovative low-cost carbide gun in order to ward off crop-raiding jumbos and other stray animals. The gun, made by a Wayanad-based farmer, doesn't pose any harm to the animals.
Vinu A A (38), who lives at Chethalayam on the fringes of forests under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, has sold around 1,000 PVC “guns” to farmers in the district, which is the epicentre of human-wildlife conflict in the state.
The machine uses a mix of calcium carbide and water to produce a powerful bang. He said that even forest officials in Wayanad had been seeking his help to drive wild jumbos back to the forests using the sound gun as a replacement to fire crackers.
“Also, unlike crackers, the carbide gun is wildlife friendly as no projectiles are involved. Also it costs just 10 paisa to fire one shot,” Vinu said.
The carbide gun is basically two PVC pipes of varying diameters joint together and has a triggering apparatus made from gas-stove lighters. A piece of calcium carbide dipped in water is dropped down the muzzle. The acetylene gas produced in the reaction is ignited using a triggering mechanism connected to the device to produce a loud bang. One kg calcium carbide, which costs around Rs 85, is enough to make 400 'explosions'.
He said Karipur airport authorities had approached him and a demonstration has been scheduled at the airport this week to see how effective the device is to scare away birds from runway.
“I have seen my uncles scaring off wild animals using kerosene-bamboo cannons. I tried to innovate it a bit by using calcium carbide, which is used for welding purposes and PVC pipes,” Vinu said adding that he had been giving the guns to farmers at Rs 800 apiece.
Assistant wildlife warden, Kurichiat range, Baburaj K said that farmers were widely using the device. “But it remains to be seen if the wild animals will get used to the loud sound over a time,” he said adding that the forest department too was planning to test the device.