Elephant-human conflict: High-power team visits ground zero in Munnar (India)


New Indian Express

Date Published
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IDUKKI: In the wake of continuing attacks from wild elephants in Munnar, top officers of the Forest Department under Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) K J Varughese, on Saturday, visited various areas in Devikulam Forest Range to take stock of the situation.

The visit was also aimed at mollifying local residents who have been up in arms against the alleged apathy in initiating action against the menace and to formulate a plan to tackle the situation.  The team visited various places, including Sinkukandam, Chinnakkanal and Santhanpara and spoke to people driven to wits’ end by the marauding jumbos.

CWW Varughese told Express the department will initiate a range of measures to address the crisis, including seeking options to capture two rogue tuskers, which are constantly causing trouble to people. “We have already started an SMS alert system to warn the people about the presence of elephants. Besides, the services of elephant trackers will be increased and the functioning of Rapid Response Team (RRT) will be strengthened,” he said.

As a final resort, the department is also planning to capture the elephant and shift it to an elephant rehabilitation centre. Taking into account the practical difficulties in capturing the elephant, Varughese has ordered the formation of a six-member technical committee of experts headed by the High Range Chief Forest Conservator to submit a report on the issue.

“Considering the region’s  topography, attempts to immobilise the jumbos by firing darts will not be easy,” Varughese said.

High Range Circle Chief Forest Conservator Deepak Misra, Munnar DFO Narendra Babu, Range Officer Suresh Kumar and other officers were part of the team which visited the area.