As the elephant herds of Jharkhand increasingly cross paths with human beings in the backdrop of depleting forest cover and food base, the state government has now set up a database to track pachyderms’ movements to reduce collateral damages.
Earlier this month, the state’s forest and wildlife department officials in Ranchi created a state-level database online to record the sightings of elephant herds and track their movements in various districts of the state.
The divisional forest officers (DFO) of 15 divisions across six ranges will have access to the online database, where they will regularly update the place each time an elephant herd or a lone tusker is seen. The DFOs will update the population of the herd (including number of males, females and calves) and the co-ordinates of the village where they were sighted.
“A regular update of coordinates will be analysed through Google earth maps to identify prospective movements of the herds. This will be used as an alarm mechanism for human settlements that lie along the herds’ probable routes. Damage to life and property can be saved to an extent,” LR Singh, additional principal chief conservator of forests – wildlife (APCCF-WL) told TOI.
“The database has been floated and we have recorded over 150 such sightings in a fortnight. There are some minor additions to be incorporated to perfect the whole mechanism,” Singh added.
As many as 12 prominent elephant corridors originating from the state and leading into neighboring Bihar, Chattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal are threatened by growing human settlements. As a result, the elephant herds in the state, especially those from the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, tend to deviate from their path and venture into human settlements in search of food.