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24 May 2019, Edition - 1410, Friday

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Coimbatore

SMS alerts on elephant movement in Munnar

Syed Ibrahim

Kerala: The forest department in Munnar in Kerala has come up with message alerts to inform people about elephant movements. This includes several hotspots where elephant movement is higher than any other locations in Munnar forest region.

“We collect phone numbers of all, including those with some influence in society. If we come across any such movements, the people or officers send information to the division office which is shared with all,” OA Shyam S told the Covai Post.

“Our guards and range officers will be there in the forest. They send messages here to the office. Sometimes people also send information regarding an elephant movement. This will be very helpful to take timely action,” Shyam said.

“Most of the incidents happened when people accidently enter the zone, where elephants wander. Our plan is to prevent these incidents for which, our department introduced text messages only. Soon we will send voice message alerts too, said Munnar DFO S Narendra Babu.

By giving the accurate location of elephant, the department can reduce accidents. It has also placed beacon lights at places from where people cannot send messages properly owing to network issues. They are there in three places where there is higher elephant movement.

When rangers or people send two missed call to a certain number, the beacon lights get activated. The department has also decided to place GPS in elephants to track movements. This is to be implemented soon, officials say.

Tourism officer Antony Gilbert J told The Covai Post: “The results of these efforts are no good. Most of these people are not educated to understand such technology advancements. The forest department should create awareness about this process first.”

“Recently elephants came to resident area and destroyed houses. To keep elephants out of such areas, people lay traps and harm elephants,” he said adding that there was also illegal trade in tusks.

Officials at the forest division said no such issue of tusk trade has been reported so far.

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