Low-cost methods help control elephant menace (India)


Sangamesh Menasinakai,Times of India

Date Published
HUBLI: Low-cost methods developed by a Pune-based NGO have helped to check crop loss — a menace that farmers of Uttara Kannada district have been fighting since 2009. 
Prachi Mehta, executive director, research, of Pune-based Wildlife Research and Conservation Society (WRCS), who was in Dharwad to train forest personnel recently said the team came up with a elephant conversation project in Yellapur and Haliyal taluks. 
“Our members Sangram Parida and Prasanna NS met farmers of about 50 villages with the help of forest department and convinced them to adopt low-cost methods developed specifically for the region. These cost between Rs 50 and Rs 300 and WRCS has been sharing 50% of it,” she added. 
She said that experiments were conducted at Sakrebail elephant camp in Shimoga district. “As our experiments caused no harm to elephants, the forest department approved them and is now cooperating with us to educate farmers” she said. 
Sugandhar Shikari, a farmer of Mundawad village, said earlier farmers would throw stones at elephants and watched over their fields the whole night. “After adopting these methods, we sleep soundly and get good yield to,” he said. “The trip alarm is very useful for me,” he added. 
Uday Mirasi of Bailandur village said farmers were not aware about using easily available material to prevent entry of elephants into the fields. “For me, chilli smoke and paste was very economical and easily available,” he said. 
Forest official Mahesh Shirur, who was earlier DFO in UK, said one method alone won’t work as the elephant is an intelligent animal and figures out how to handle it. “As WRCS has come up with six methods, it’s useful for farmers and forest personnel too,” he said. 
Additional PCCF Sanjay Mohan said constant research will help both elephants and human beings.