In what could prove a major innovation in curbing wild animals as wild boar, sambhar and nilgai in lower areas of Himachal Pradesh (HP), the Forest department in Una district has successfully managed to replicate South African and Kerala Model in protecting crops.

The model was implemented in Madanpur village of Una district by Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Una Yashudeep Singh and the same is being replicated in other areas of the district wherein wild animals are causing loss to crops.

Under the model which is used in South African countries and Kerala to protect agriculture land from wild elephants, ropes are coated with old mobil engine oil along with chili powder.
The rope is then used to fence farmland and the strong stench shoo away the wild animals as neelgai and wild boar.

“The experiment is a success and the same is being replicated in other areas of the district,” Singh told The Statesman. Singh said that the Forest department is now collaborating with Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru to find a solution to monkey menace.

Under the programme, the Forest department would work on acoustic conditioning of monkeys. “The programme would aim at sterilisation of monkeys along with conditioning them to refrain from damaging human food and crops,” he said.

The scientist from Bengaluru and Forest department would condition and coat human food and crops in affected areas with chili and capsicum so that monkeys don’t attack them in future. “In addition, ultrasounds generating machines would be placed to scare monkeys,” he said, adding for the purpose, the model adopted at Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir would be replicated.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the upper region of HP is facing the scourge of menace while the districts as Una, Sirmaur, Bilaspur and Kangra and some areas of Solan are affected by Neelgai, Sambar and wild boar.

While 149 tehsils of the state are affected by monkey menace but the plans to curb their population have not borne desired fruits so far. In some parts of these districts, the farmers have abandoned farming (in around 76,000 hectares) due to loss to crops bywild animals every year.

The issue has been raised by several NGOs time and again with the farmers’ body asking the government to declare them vermin and eliminate the threat to the livelihood of over 7 lakh families. Over 70 per cent agricultural land in HP is affected by wild animals menace that causes damage to the tune of Rs 2000 Crore every year as per the estimates of Himachal Kisan Sabha (HKS). As per HKS estimates, around 2,301 panchayats in HP are affected by wild animals and the area affected by wild animals as Neelgai, Sambar and wild boar falls in lower Shivalik range.