Solar fences to stop jumbo attacks (India)


Rajesh Mohanty, The Telegraph India

Date Published

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ROURKELA: Solar fencing, designed to fight elephant menace, is proving extremely beneficial in the district.

Sundargarh divisional forest officer Arun Kumar Mishra said the fencing helped to keep the animals at bay. “The technique is being adopted at many places in the state and the country and it has provided good results,” Mishra said.

The solar fencing under the Hemgiri forest range is slightly different from the way it is done at other places. “We have covered the village, fields and also restricted the entry to the villages. By taking the whole village under cover, including the entry points, the message spreads very fast as an alarm goes off shortly as an intruder comes in contact with the wires,” Mishra said.

At present, the method has been followed in small patches. The department is planning to take it up gradually in other areas. “We saw its efficacy and have plans to extend it to other areas.”

The fencing is being done at Hemgiri, Sadar range, Ujwalpur and Lefripara. The pattern has been adopted at Birtola, Budaramtola, Purna and Beheramal and all bordering Chhattisgarh.

“We were finding it difficult to drive away a herd that was creating trouble in Hemgiri and its nearby areas. The animals have not returned yet, while two months have crossed.”

Explaining the technique, he said: “There is a battery energiser, which gets charged during day time and works all the night. The reinforced concrete cement pillars have been erected all around with fencing. The battery is kept in a person’s home, along with alarm bell.”

“Anyone coming in contact with the wires will get a shock of 12,000 volts – for hundredth part of a second – and this will be sufficient to keep the intruder at bay.”

This minute shocks act as a repellent for the intruder and it leaves the place as soon it recovers. “It is non-lethal, so there are no chances of life loss.”

Mishra felt the plan to cover the entire village, along with the crops, proved beneficial. “This is our innovation done at a cost of Rs 2 lakh.” Mishra is planning to extend the method in other areas under his jurisdiction.

“A team of wildlife experts recently visited Badgaon, which was hit by elephant menace.”

The team reported that the easy availability of local brew both for personal consumption and sale was drawing the animals to the locality. “At Birtola, a lady who was injured in jumbo attack a few days ago, was selling local brew,” an expert said.