Chillie Jumbo deterrent
Elephants have always been a source of danger and loss to farmers in Sri Lanka and various methods have been used to keep them away from crops which they virtually annihilate within a few hours. Many lives have been sacrificed to the elephants and it has always been a losing battle between elephant and man as a result of the inroads made by man into elephant territory which has for centuries been their natural preserve.
Various methods have been tried to keep elephants away from raiding plantations, such as by lighting fires, exploding crackers and as a last resort, by shooting. All these methods have been only partially successful but in East Africa a method which is gaining popularity today is the use of the humble Chillie plant to keep elephants at bay.
It was discovered that elephants are very sensitive to the Chillie plant to the point of being allergic to it. Chillies contain a substance known as Capsaicin which is a strong irritant and the mere scent of Chillies scares them away. It is interesting to record however that whilst most animals do not usually feed on Chillie plants, birds seem to favour the ripe seeds.
The method of choice used in Africa today is to mix about 5% dried red chillies which are ground up into powder in fresh elephant dung which is moulded tightly into a tubular shape. This can easily be done by stuffing the chillie/dung mixture tightly into a used tin can, open on both ends, which is then left to dry in the sun. This mixture is lit at night and the size of the can is adjusted in order to ensure that it lasts till morning as it is slow burning and gives off a lot of smoke. Many such time bombs can be placed in strategic places on the perimeter of the plantation to ensure that elephants get a full dose of the smoke if they come anywhere near the vicinity. The smoke which is wafted in all directions keeps the elephants at bay as their trunks are extremely sensitive to the chillie/dung smoke and the safety of the plantations is thereby assured. It was also found that the smoke was an effective mosquito repellent.
Another method which is also used with equal success, is to plant Chillies in beds of about a meter in width on the perimeter of the plantation which is normally raided by elephants. It was found that elephants seemed to be sensitive even to the scent of the chillie plants which they did not like to cross, and what is more, the chillie crop was also a source of additional income to the farmer.
I would suggest that this method of keeping elephants away from raiding plantations is
tested here in Sri Lanka and this can easily be done by instructing the Grama Sevakayas in
the areas which are often attacked by elephants to use this simple method of eliminating
|NEWS | POLITICS | DEFENCE | FEATURES | BUSINESS | LEISURE | EDITORIAL | CARTOON | SPORTS|