RAIPUR: In order to prevent human-elephant conflict at worst affected Surguja division, Chhattisgarh forest department has written to government of Karnataka seeking permission for availing six Kumki elephants to be deployed to tame and capture wild tuskers in forest of state.
Kumki are trained elephants used for capture and training of tuskers in the wild that stray in human settlements. Amid other decision taken was to shift villages and provide habitat to the giants. In wake of increase in elephant attacks in Surguja region, forest department officials have been experimenting with several ideas to prevent the conflict but they have hardly been fruitful.
In a review meeting with minister of forest Mahesh Gagda asked officials to form monitoring committees and security groups on village level.
Talking to TOI, RK Singh, PCCF Wildlife said, “As of now, forest department has written to Karnataka government for Kumki elephants and the response is awaited.
Deployment of Kumki would help in attaching radio collar on elephants, capturing and training them. These are specialised trained elephants that undergo rigorous training.”
While foresters say that state wasn’t a home to elephants and have always migrated from neighbouring states due to deforestation, mining, development or industrialization, the giants were never as attacking as they are now.
Singh informed that it was in 1993 when few elephants were captured and were trained for patrolling touring inside forests in Achanakmar which had put a pause on elephants migrating to Chhattisgarh between 1993 and 2000. Then it was in 2002 herd of nearly 32 tuskers was spotted which has now increased to about 247, as per latest figures, in north Chhattisgarh.
Monitoring of movements and counting of elephants is being done on daily basis while forest department is also developing habitat for elephants so they don’t venture into villages and attack humans on not finding food.
PCCF said that several plant species were being sown in forests and huge water bodies were being developed for tuskers at select areas while identification of more such areas was also being done.
A project has also been sanctioned wherein researchers and experts from abroad as well as NGOs were researching to understand the elephants nature and finding ways to deal with the conflict at a place dominated by tribal culture.
“We are using best intellectual resources to become wiser to deal with the problem while compensation to affected victims were also being paid in time.”
“As of now, the isolated houses and hamlets would be shifted to safer zones. However, focus would be mainly on Surguja, Dharamjaigarh, Jashpur and Korba,” Singh said.