The pegs that can give jumbos a headache

The pegs that can give jumbos a headache

The pegs that can give jumbos a headache

A barrier of steel pegs laid to prevent entry of elephants into fields. DH photo

The simple system approved by the Bannerghatta National Park can prevent elephants from entering the farmers’ fields.

Comprising a barrier of steel pegs, the barricade allows passage of human beings and animals, barring elephants.

Mukund, a herpetologist from the City came up with the idea three years ago to prevent the man-elephant conflict. Steel pegs five feet long are buried in cement piles, with just about a foot of them above the ground, across a path from where elephants enter farms.

“They are buried in concrete fillings in such a manner that the animals cannot pull them out,” Mukund said. The surface of the pegs are smooth to prevent elephants getting a grip of them.

Embedded in a particular area, with a certain number of grids, the pegs prevent elephants from entering farmers’ fields.

The proposal received government approval in November 2007, but the project was stalled for a year due to foot and mouth disease outbreak and bureaucratic hurdles. The proposal was tested successfully at the herbivores safari in Bannerghatta in November 2009 and has been recommended for trial in forests in the State where the man-pachyderm conflict is on the rise.

Highly adaptable

Mukund says that his solution can be adapted to any terrain. The  approximate cost of this project for an area of length one kilometre and five feet width would be around Rs 40 lakh.

Unlike the elephant prevention trenches and solar powered fence, the barricade requires minium maintenance and can effectively save human lives as well as the beasts, he added.

- As the barricade is placed on the edge  of the field, the elephants cannot stray into fields, saving crops and plantations.

-  The grids can be placed anywhere – uphill, downhill and even in between trees.