Govt. seeks alternative to electric fence

In bid to curb human-elephant conflict

By Ifham Nizam

The Government will go all out to find alternative methods, other than the much discussed electric fences, to minimize the country’s human-elephant conflict.

Annually nearly 100 people die due to elephant attacks while more than 200 elephants have been killed due to human activities.

The 2012 budgetary allocations have made way for a Rs.100 million segment to address the elephant-human conflict, said Agrarian and Wildlife Minister, S. M. Chandrasena.

He said the number of deaths had been reduced due to several initiatives taken at village level.

He expressed confidence that with further initiatives taken by the Wildlife Department the elephant-human conflict in the coming year will be minimised. The number of deaths reported was 86 in 2010. This year it was 50.

Chandrasena strongly believes that due to sheer negligence and unsustainable farming methods, more and more elephants are attracted resulting in human-elephant conflicts.

The other reason he said was that despite instructions by Department officials, some people roam in elephant infested areas during the wee hours.

The Island learns that a recent proposal to plant palmyrah palms along the boundaries of forest reserves, as an alternative to the electric fences, is now being considered in several districts.

According to a recent study by the Practical Action Institute, the palmyrah fence was an environment friendly method with the palmyrah fruits providing fodder to the elephants during the drought from May to October when there is a shortage of food in the jungle.

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