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Odisha to tag problematic tuskers with radio collars to check human-elephant conflict

The radio collars will be Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled and will track the real time location of problematic wild elephants.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

The Odisha forest department has decided to tag two problematic tuskers in Chandaka wildlife sanctuary with radio collars to track their migration path in a bid to curb the incidence of pachyderm depredation in human habitation areas.

“At least two tuskers separated from the herd have triggered a reign of terror by sneaking into Bharatpur locality on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar from their original habitat in Chandaka wildlife sanctuary. The elephant duo is straying into the thickly populated human habitation area almost on a daily basis. Though no human loss has been reported, two tuskers have caused damage to croplands, orchards and thatched houses. Therefore, the problematic tuskers are being radio collared shortly”, said Divisional Forest Officer, Kedar Kumar Swain.

It will be the State’s first radio-collaring initiative to track the real-time movement of the elephants. The project being funded by the department will be implemented in the next fortnight with technical support from the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science. The department is bearing Rs 25 lakh cost for radio-collaring the elephant duo, he added.

The radio collars will be Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled and will track the real time location of problematic wild elephants. The animals will be tranquilized after which they will be tagged with radio collars, he said.

The real time location of the problematic animals will go a long way in putting brakes on the marauding elephants from causing loss to life and property.

The wildlife sanctuary is currently home to 40 wild elephants. Apart from the two tuskers, the remaining elephants are not found to be trouble makers, he concluded.

The sanctuary lying on the fringes of Odisha’s bustling capital city is a virtual treasure-trove of flora, fauna and biodiversity. Apart from elephants, it is also home to a number of threatened wild animals and birds. The Langur, the macaque, three deer (spotted deer, barking deer, and mouse deer), wild pig, porcupine and hare, Panther, sloth bear, hyena, wolf, fox, jackal, mongoose(common, small, ruddy). Civets (small, palm), tree shrew and Pangolins are abundantly spotted in this human-interference-free wildlife zone.