Wed, 21 Aug 2019

By Tarak SarkarKurseong (West Bengal) [India], Aug 12 (ANI): An early warning system which helps prevent human-elephant conflict is being installed in villages situated in forest areas in North Bengal region which often witnesses incidents of elephant attacks.

The forest department has installed 16 Automated Elephant Tracking Device (AETD) in several villages near Gorumara National park in Jalpaiguri, while other 12 such devices have been set up around the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in Darjeeling district on a pilot basis.

The pilot project is undertaken by Society for Nature and Animal Protection (SNAP), a city-based nature lover organisation, in collaboration with the forest department.

It will alert the people living in villages and in and near forests about the movement of the elephant.

The system is mounted with the help of a pole and has infrared technology, temperature and movement sensors along with the controller installed in it. The device can detect the movement of the elephants within a 200-meter radius.

"When an elephant comes into the 200-meter area of the device, it sends an alert to the forest office where a hooter starts buzzing as an indication to the villagers that the elephant is approaching them," said engineer Simu Saha, who designed the device and is a member of the group.

The forest department will observe its accuracy and will install more such devices if it delivers fruitful results, Darjeeling Wildlife Divisional Forest Officer Jiju Jaesper said.

Residents of the villagers in and around the forest expressed their hope that the device will help them assuaging the damage of crops and houses often caused by the unruly mammoth.

Rakesh Subba, a villager said that he was very hopeful with the "first of its kind initiative".

"The population inside villages situated in the forest are increasing day-by-day, resulting in a conflict between man and animal. We are trying to villagers alert through this device," SNAP president Koustav Choudhury said.

According to West Bengal forest department, North Bengal region has a total of 732 elephants in 237 elephant corridors. (ANI)

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