Slothful approach to an elephantine issue

Slothful approach to an elephantine issue

The State government seems to be taking its own sweet time to go through the report of the Karnataka Elephant Task Force (KETF) and submit its statement of objections and feasibility of implementing the report.

The KETF, appointed by the High Court, submitted its report in September 2012. Ever since, the report is gathering dust with no response from the government.

Raman Sukumar, Professor, Centre for Ecological Studies, Indian Institute of Science and chairman of KETF, says that the government is taking time to submit its statement as it has to consult various other departments to check the feasibility of implementing the report.

Sukumar, in his report, has recommended conversational zone for elephants so that their habitats are intact. Secondly, if the elephants enter human habitats, an organised method to relocate them into their habitat and co-existence zone wherein farmers can protect their crops in the presence of wildlife has been discussed.

Sukumar has recommended compensation to farmers in case of crop loss due to elephant attack. 

He said the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) and Nagarahole forests have done a good job in terms of solar fencing the forest area, restraining elephants from entering human habitat. The same needs to be replicated in all elephant-human conflict zones, he said.

With regard to elephants entering the State forests from Tamil Nadu, Sukumar said there is a need for an inter-state operation to chase the elephants back into the forest.

On the need for sensitisation in handling elephant-human conflict, he said that by engaging NGOs, public can be sensitised to maintain peace and not panic while driving the animals back into the forest.

On the killing of a lensman by the elephants, PCCF (Principal Chief Conservator of Forests) B K Singh says one must always maintain safe distance and not take the risk of clicking pictures of wild elephants.

Singh said rapid response teams must ensure they are well equipped to capture the elephants and drive them back into the forests without harming them.

Kumkis (captive trained elephants) must be brought to the spot and it should be ensured that wild elephants are drawn towards them. The team must have adequate tranquilisers and veterinary doctors to cater to any emergency, said Singh.

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