Bhubaneswar, December 12 (LocalWire):Odisha forest department has decided to tag problematic elephants with radio collars to track their migration path in an attempt to curb the incidence of elephant depredation.
The Indian Institute of Science will provide the technical know how and support to the forest department funded project.
The radio collars will be Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled and will track the real time location of belligerent wild elephants, mainly tuskers, across forest corridors of the State, Hari Shankar Upadhyay Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) told LocalWire.
The radio collar tagging is being undertaken as an initiative to arrest spurt in cases of man-elephant conflict from various parts of the State, he said.
On the basis of ground level reports received from forest officials and local people, problematic elephants will be picked up for the radio collar tagging. The animals will be tranquilized after which they will be tagged with radio collars, he said.
The real time location of the problematic animals will go a long way in preventing the marauding elephants from causing loss to life and property, he said.
In the past, incidents of elephants going amuck killing people, destroying houses and croplands have been registered. The trend is still continuing unabated.
The forest department had earlier adopted the method to tranquilize the problematic elephants by sedatives for translocation to other spot. De-tusking of the animals was earlier implemented to reduce their violent acts.
Currently the State is home to 1976 elephants in 37 forest divisions, identified as elephants’ habitation corridors.
The elephant population in the State is marked by gender imbalance with 1092 females, 344 males. The gender of the rest is yet to be ascertained.
Man-elephant conflict has reached a flashpoint in Odisha in current year if the governmental statistics are any indication.
As many as 65 people were killed as pachyderms on rampage sneaked into human habitation areas to trample them down. Death of 38 elephants was also recorded this financial year April 1 to December 1.
Last year, 2018-19, saw the highest elephant mortality till date – 91 of them, of which 36 were due to unnatural causes and in 27 cases the reason could not be known.
The period also saw 92 humans being killed by elephants.