August 31, 2015
Human-elephant conflict in Coimbatore is not an issue that can be resolved easily but steps can be taken for the safety of both species, said a leading environmentalist in the city.
According to the Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO), in the past 16 years (1999-2014) the Coimbatore Forest Division has recorded 96 human causalities and 133 elephant deaths.
“Simple steps such as carrying torches, alerting on the presence of the animal through mobiles, keeping food and arrack covered so as to not tempt elephants can be adhered to for the peaceful coexistence of humans and elephants,” said Dr Sanjay Molur, executive director trustee, of ZOO, who has been working in the field for 22 years.
He said that people confront with elephants in the dark and this leads to an attack. Carrying torches enables people to see in the dark and keep away from elephant prone areas, he said. “Coexistence is the key word. And humans, as a more advanced species, need to be aware of this in a country of elephants.
Lack of awareness is one of the major issues,” he told covaipost.com.
Tamil Nadu is one of the key states in the country, where humans are in conflict with elephants. Experts say that our population is living in the ‘elephant corridor’. Dr Molur said that elephants are genetically programmed to move from point A to point B within the forest.
“It is ingrained in them. More studies need to be done. Every single elephant in the area need to be studied. Right now we can only infer that they are foraying for food and are trying to mate,” said Dr Molur.
ZOO is right now conducting a survey of elephants. “In order to identify the core cause for conflict, a survey to understand crop and property damage, human and elephant deaths and people’s tolerance in selected human elephant conflict areas of Coimbatore division will be conducted,” the organization said in its website.
When asked about fencing in the so-called corridor made by the forest department, Dr Molur said it a bad idea. In a document on saving yourself from an elephant attack that Dr Molur shared with covaipost.com, it is mentioned that elephants are very intelligent and will quickly adapt to your measures to cheat it. Each elephant acts in its own way and so does each herd, the document said.