NEW DELHI: Indigenous methods like trip alarms, bees and chili fences used by some states to deter elephants from raiding crops are going global, with Bangladesh and Vietnam seeking India’s expertise to replicate the low-cost methods.
Devised by the Pune-based Wildlife Research and Conservation Society, the use of methods like putting beehives around crop or generating smoke from burning chillies has brought down incidents of elephants raiding crops by 40-50 percent. Every year, around 100 elephants and 400 humans die due to human-elephant conflict.
“These indigenous methods don’t need any technical expertise. Farmers can do it themselves when needed,” said a senior environment ministry official.
At a meeting of elephant-range countries held in New Delhi last week, Bangladesh and Vietnam expressed interest in these methods.
“We have asked Vietnam to send us a formal request and we will share videos related to the use of these indigenous methods with them, while things have moved far ahead in the case of Bangladesh. Some African countries also use such methods and we have devised it according to our local needs,” said the official.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has also proposed to immunise female elephants with contraceptives in West Bengal and Odisha to control the increase in their population to avoid human-elephant conflict. Besides, the ministry has also mooted a proposal for collar-tagging elephants, like it is done to track tigers. The idea is get a pattern of elephant dispersal and migration across the country and use that data to avoid human animal conflict.
Elephants have been straying to human habitats in search of food as large areas of forest are being cleared for development.