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The Forest Department is planning to set up a Coorg Foundation to address the increasing incidents of man-elephant conflict in Kodagu district which has a large pachyderm population.
This is the first time that the department is creating a foundation for a territorial area. It has already set up similar bodies in the tiger reserves of Kali, Bandipur and Nagarahole with a focus on man-tiger conflict to mobilise funds and to attend to the affected families.
The Coorg Foundation will focus on man-animal conflict in general and man-elephant conflict in particular. It will address the needs of the families affected by such conflicts.
“Our job does not end with giving a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of a person who dies in conflict with elephants. We want to ensure that the education of the victim’s children is not affected and we will employ his wife, if needed. We will also provide for the affected family through the foundation,” P Anur Reddy, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), told DH.
He continued: “We have chosen this district because many incidents of man-elephant conflict have happened in Kodagu. Setting up a foundation is in addition to the work already initiated by the department to reduce these conflicts. The foundation will do some hand-holding exercise for people and the affected families.”
In 2015-16, nine elephants and 13 people died in such conflicts in three divisions in Kodagu district (Madikeri, Madikeri territorial and Virajpet), Forest Department records show. In 2016-17, eight elephants and nine people were killed. In 2017-18, three human and 11 elephant deaths have been reported till July 10.
The proposal on the foundation has been sent to the state government for final approval. Work will start once the government approval comes, Reddy said.
The Forest Department, the wildlife division, village forest committees and eco-tourism units will contribute for the foundation, besides raising funds locally.
The foundation will be headed by the chief conservator of forests, Kodagu. The deputy conservators of forests of all three divisions, the heads of village forest committees and local administrators will also be a part of it.