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To keep jumbos away, feed them

india Updated: Oct 05, 2011 22:58 IST
Digambar Patowary

Udalguri district, which was known for the stampeding of its paddy fields by elephants of nearby forests, is now free from the scourge.

In the past month, not one instance of elephants roaming in human habitations or destroying crops has come to light - all due to the efforts of the district police and NGOs engaged in reducing man-elephant conflicts by simply offering banana plants for the animals.

TR Pegu, sub-divisional police officer of Bhergaon, 126 km north-east of Guwahati, said after complaints from villagers, the district police, with support from some NGOs, started investigating what caused the elephants to come out of their sanctuaries and reserve forests.

"The green cover in the district has been shrinking. We came to the conclusion that they were just in search of food," Pegu said.

"We organised Ganesh Puja, which was symbolic. People in large numbers had participated and extended their support."

After the ceremony, five truckloads of banana trees and one carrying salt were kept inside the forest.

Earlier, the forest department tried to scare away the animals by beating drums and firing crackers. But this measure only served to agitate them even more.