They say there’s no forest without elephants. Elephants are a key species and play an important role in maintaining the bio-diversity of the forests. They help in the growth of certain species of flora as they create gaps in the vegetation and allow new plants to grow. Elephant dung is a reservoir of seeds that aid the growth of new varieties of plants. The mighty jumbos are also the ones that lay roads in a forest and identify sources of water. On World Elephant Day, CT looks at the conservation measures that are being undertaken for the pachyderm after a series of jumbo deaths in the region.
Coimbatore region, an elephant hub
Elephant camp, a major draw
Be responsible for elephants
Long-term conservation measures, a must
The Forest Department with the help of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) had recently installed thermal and motion sensor cameras at Madukkarai range to monitor elephant movement at crossing paths. “Its high time we worked on mitigation strategies to prevent accidents of pachyderms in human settlements. For this, we need to do a detailed study of the wildlife movement areas and work on strategies,” says D Boominathan, landscape co-ordinator, WWF. Saleem adds, “We are suggesting an underpass and barricades for tuskers, so that they do not get hit by the trains and also, prevent them from entering the agricultural land.”
In the meantime, environment K Mohan Raj says that NGOs have also filed a case against the Forest authorities under Section 55, The Wildlife (Protection) act 1972 after the recent elephant deaths. “The case has been filed against one elephant death and we will approach the judicial magistrate if they fail to respond to it. But the sensors and awareness programmes among farmers and students are only a short-term solution. The biggest drawback is that we lack a comprehensive study of the animal and the region, which is the need of the hour. The study should be done by experts in the field, like bio-scientists. Unfortunately, our bureaucratic setup is not conducive to conducting a study of such detailed nature.”
World Elephant Day special
Nevertheless, NGOs are gearing up with special programmes on the occasion. “We are planning to reach out to the students through a special programme called ‘Understanding elephants’. This is an attempt to explain the importance of the animal in maintaining bio-diversity,” says Kalidas. In the meantime, environmentalists in Coimbatore are holding a special meeting today where they will talk about the recent elephant deaths and the ways to curb them and come up with possible solutions. The event is open to the public.