Coimbatore: 2020 saw over 1500 incidents of elephants entering villages claims Coimbatore Forest Division
The forest department circulated a staggering statistics that wild tuskers from seven forest ranges entered the village around 1,572 times which saw frontline staff deployed at those places to chase them away.
It also states that there were around 145 crop-raiding incidents in the same year. In an effort to curb the man-animal conflict, the forest department teams were on their toes and formed patrol teams in each range to keep a watchful eye.
“Members of the boundary patrol teams start patrols in the evening which continues till morning. They track elephants that stray from the forest to villages and drive them back. Forest range officers in charge of social forestry take care of the patrol teams so that the task does not become a burden for regular forest range officers,” said D. Venkatesh, District Forest Officer, Coimbatore Forest Division.
I.Anwardeen, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, commenced an information passing system called ‘Thadam’ in an effort to bring down these similar incidents of wild tuskers entering villages and damaging the crops and livelihood.
Thadam sees a fleet of whatsapp groups in these seven ranges to pay close attention and get instant updates.
“The seven groups have more than 750 persons as members. Villagers are also members of the groups who share the location of elephants when they come to know. This helps the staff in tracking elephants and drive them back to forest safely,” said Mr. Venkatesh.
Amidst the elephants entering villages, the year also saw 18 deaths reported from the attacks and 26 people severely injured in the conflict.
Another tragic news being the sudden demise of 20 elephants mostly due to illness and disease in these forest ranges.