Migration of elephants to lower ranges keep Uttarakhand forest officers at toes
Migration of pachyderms from high altitude to lower ranges have become a menace for the Uttarakhand forest department as it continuously battles for the conservation of elephants as well as securing human habitationdehradun Updated: Oct 30, 2017 16:47 IST
Migration of pachyderms from high altitude to lower ranges have become a menace for the Uttarakhand forest department as it continuously battles for the conservation of elephants as well as securing human habitation.
A 25-year-old tusker near Roorkee on Sunday got trapped in high tension wires and died on the spot. About a fortnight ago, elephants blocked movement of traffic on the main Rishikesh-Dehradun road.
The settlements of Balawala, Raiwala and others in the belt are in the constant attack of elephants.
“It’s time when elephants after travelling several miles reach to lower ranges. In search of food, they end up posing threat to people,” Digvijay Singh Khati, chief wildlife warden, told HT.
In Uttarakhand, 1,346 elephants have reported in 2007 following which the state reported 1839 individuals in 2017 national census-an increase of 493 elephants. The hill state was second after Arunachal Pradesh in recording increase in the number of pachyderms.
A whopping increase of elephants may leave conservationists with a big smile, but at the same time, it also draws attention towards growing conflict.
Some key areas in Lansdowne, Haridwar, Terai and Dehradun are fast becoming hotspots for elephant conflict.
“Encroachment in wildlife areas is a common problem. But a key point behind this conflict is blockage of elephant corridors. The long-ranging animal is not able to reach to water bodies due to which it enters human habitation,” said Rajeev Mehta, former honorary wildlife warden of Rajaji Tiger Reserve.
Sources in the forest department also claimed that haphazard construction of walls and fences to keep wild animals at bay have also blocked movement of elephants.
HT in its edition dated September 30 mentioned how three tuskers are blocked in Rishikesh because they were not able to find a way out. The tuskers are attacking people and damaging standing crops.
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is working with forest officials to reunite the elephants with their herds.
HK Singh, the divisional forest officer of Haridwar, said: “The animals will follow its natural instinct. There are several herds that were never seen entering human habitation. We continue alarming people asking them to confined during wee hours.”