Spikes to stop jumbos draw Supreme Court’s wrath

Spikes to stop jumbos draw Supreme Court’s wrath

Sharp iron rods fixed to cement pillars to prevent jumbos from straying into villages.

The Forest department has been pulled up by the Supreme Court for erecting pillars with spikes to prevent jumbos from straying into villages on the fringes of the forests. It has become inevitable for the department to remove the pillars as directed by the Apex court.

The Supreme Court on August 1 termed the use of spikes and fireballs to drive away the elephants as “barbaric” and said that the states should be desisted from using any such methods. A bench of judges observed that states like Karnataka, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha were allegedly adopting these methods and issued directions to remove them. All the Principal Chief Conservators of Forests were directed to stop using this method which would torture the elephants.

The Forest department has been laying elephant-proof trenches in the forests and had also erected solar fence. At places where these methods could not be adopted, like soft soil and rocky areas, the officials had tried a new method of laying pillars with spikes under Nagarahole and Bandipur National Park limits. The ground at slope areas were concretised and nails were fixed on it. The idea was to create fear and prevent wild animals from entering the villages.

As the wild jumbos are capable of destroying the strongest of pillars, the spikes were fixed as these would pierce their bodies before they damage the pillars.

The spikes on the cement flooring would pierce the foot of not only the jumbos, but even other animals, causing injuries.

In case the nails had rusted, the injuries may aggravate and cause an infection which may claim their lives. Hence, the Supreme Court has opined that this method violates the existing Forest Act.