Elephant-human encounter: Why is it emerging as a major conservation issue?



bbc-BBC Tamil

By BBC News Tamil


Updated: Friday, August 12, 2022, 22:25 [IST]

An elephant walks an average of 40 to 50 kilometers a day. It consumes up to 250 kg of food daily. Drinks 150 liters of water. It is said that the food eaten in one place gives life to the seeds in the dung and grows new plants and trees in another place.

Elephant-human clash : Why is it emerging as a major conservation issue?

Elephants are said to be as affectionate and mischievous as children. Today is World Elephant Day. Since 2012, World Elephant Day has been celebrated on August 12 every year. The aim is to create awareness among people about elephants. In this case, in today’s environment, elephant-human confrontation is emerging as a huge problem.

Speaking to BBC Tamil, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Field Director Venkatesh said, “In today’s environment, elephant-human encounters are on the rise. Farmers living in forest-adjacent areas are growing cash crops such as coconut, banana and sugarcane. As these crops are the favorite of elephants, they are looking for agricultural lands adjacent to the forest. are coming

There are cash crops that elephants don’t like. By cultivating them, elephant-human confrontation can be avoided. No damage to crops.

We cannot blame wildlife. We have to cultivate accordingly. This avoids elephant-human confrontation. This should be mentioned to the people and an environment should be created to protect the elephants.

We are in a situation where we need to protect the elephant’s right of way. In Mudumalai Tiger Reserve encroachments on the Sigur forest area of ​​government elephants have been removed since 2010,” he said.

Besides, this Valasai route is an important route that reaches Mudumalai through Kerala, Karnataka and goes to the Eastern Ghats via Sathyamangalam. Venkatesh also mentioned that the government and the forest department are actively working to restore this route.

He further said, “Elephants coming out of the forest are being poisoned through electric fences. This is very wrong. The elephant is in the list of protected species (schedule 1).

The forest department should be immediately informed about elephants coming out of the forest. Apart from that, the public should not take any other measures to prevent them from coming. Doing so would be an offense under the Wildlife Protection Act,” he said.

1160 elephants died in 10 years

According to RTI, the number of elephants that have died due to various causes in the last 10 years in India is 1160.

Pandyaraja, a social activist from Bhavoorchatra, Tenkasi district, had sought answers to various questions through the Right to Information Act on the number of elephants killed due to various reasons across India in the last 10 years, the current number of elephants and the measures taken to protect them. Elephant Project Specialist and Chief Public Information Officer Muthamich Selvan has responded.

train collision

186 elephants have died in train collisions in the last 10 years. 62 elephants have died in the state of Assam.

Death by electrocution

741 elephants have died due to electrocution in the last 10 years. Of these, the maximum number of 133 elephants died in Odisha state. 93 elephants have died due to electrocution in Tamil Nadu alone.

A victim of hunting

The number of elephants poached and killed in the last 10 years is 169. Of this, the maximum number of elephants poached is 49 in Odisha state. 9 elephants have been killed in illegal poaching in Tamil Nadu.

Expenditure on Elephant Conservation Programme

212.5 crores have been spent in the last 10 years under the scheme for the conservation of elephants across India.

Speaking to RTI activist Pandyaraja, he said, “The recent rise in the number of elephants is shocking. If elephants die, forests die. We all have a huge responsibility to protect elephants and forests for future generations. Central and state governments should act immediately and stop these elephants from dying.” ,” said.

B. Ramakrishnan, who has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Wildlife Biology at Government Arts College, Ooty for 12 years, has been studying elephants for 23 years. He has a Ph.D. researching the routes of elephants.

He has done research on elephant-human encounters in the Nilgiris, where elephant habitat is abundant.

Speaking to him, he said, “It was only after the central government declared the elephant as a ‘traditional species’ in 2010 that conservation of elephants became more important.

Before the introduction of the Elephant Conservation Program in 1991, elephants were heavily poached for their ivory. In the forests of South India, many elephants were killed by Veerappan.

Since 1991, many programs like anti-poaching camps and anti-poaching guards have been introduced to protect elephants, so killing of elephants has been prevented.

In a draconian measure, central and state governments have enacted laws to prevent trade in ivory.

As the killing of elephants for their ivory has been banned, the number of male elephants has increased.

However, there are still various problems such as the blocking of the elephants’ right of way, the destruction of their habitat, and the elephant-human encounter causing more losses,” he said.

In particular, the Elephant Conservation Program came to protect male elephants. The challenge is that elephants die from electrocution. But Ramakrishnan says the sex ratio among wild elephants is affected as elephants between the ages of 25 and 35 who are fit for healthy reproduction are killed by electrocution.

Therefore, we are forced to prevent the death of elephants due to electric fences and electric wires, he said, adding, “Elephants need a lot of water in summer. They don’t have sweat glands, so they go everywhere for water. If we provide water for elephants, we can avoid elephants from coming to human habitations.” He said that.

Ornithologist Salim Ali said that comes to mind. “Birds and other creatures will live in a world without humans. But in a world without birds and other creatures, humans cannot survive.”

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English summary

Human-elephant conflict is a major conservation concern in elephant range countries

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