Unique methods to keep elephants away from human settlements (Rourkela, India)


Deccan Herald

Date Published

Unique methods like use of LED lights with siren and bio-acoustics are
being used by Forest department to keep elephants away from human
settlements in interior areas of Odisha’s Sundergarh district.

The new techniques are put to use as the wild animals have made life
miserable for the residents in several areas like Hemgiri, Sabdega and
other places, Forest officials said.

The jumbos demolish houses destroy standing crops like paddy and
vegetables. Farmers appear to be more worried about protecting the
paddy and other farm produces.

“We are now using some new techniques and plans are afoot to introduce
some other methods for which we need government’s approval,” said
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sundergarh, Arun Kumar Mishra.

Amongst the techniques being used are LED lights with sirens, scare
away guns and bio-acoustics. “The LED lights and sirens are being used
after the experience in Jaspur in Chhattisgarh,” said the DFO.

The high power lights along with sirens are helping in scaring away
the jumbos. However, these have limited effect.

What really helped was the scare away guns. The scare away gun is
nothing but a big look alike of an old artillery gun kept at forts
along with a gas cylinder. In 45 seconds it will fire one shot making
a deafening sound of enough decibel to scare away the elephant, he

“This is not 100 per cent successful but so far has scared the
elephants away,” said Mishra.
The bio-acoustics is nothing but a machine, which has sounds of
animals like boar and elephants when they are in stress or distress.

“This helps but has to be used in isolation because elephants are very
clever when they listen human voices along with this they do not go
away as they understand no one is in problem,” said Mishra.

This was used in Athagarh, he said adding these three methods have limitations.
Another method which is in use in the US is called the radio collar use.
“A radio collar is put on the elephant after tranquilising it,” said the DFO.

The collar will prevent the jumbo from crossing certain limit by
sending some electric shocks. As a result it will come back, he said.

However, the Forest department is waiting for the government clearance
to use it, he added.