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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Odisha government is all set to engage honey bees in warding off elephant herds which stray into human settlements and destroy crops and property in regular intervals.

As per a decision taken by the Odisha Forest department, the largest mammal on land (Elephant) will be kept at bay from human habitation by an army of those stingy little flies.

The boxes containing bees will be put at several places known for trespassing by the jumbos.

When an elephant tries to cross anywhere in the vicinity, the wire connected to the box would be pulled causing its door to open. The ajar door will enable the danger-sensing army of bees to come out and ambush the potential moving threat.

The experiment was reportedly successful in South Africa and in Assam in India which prompted the Forest department to apply the same technique expecting results in Odisha too.

Speaking about the new experiment, the PCCF (Principal Chief Conservator of Forests) Sashi Paul said, “It is said that the bees can scare the elephants away. If the pilot project gets success, we will expand the model through out Odisha where the jumbos cause havoc.”

Not only this, the forest department seems to have taken the elephant menace seriously and are planning to monitor the movement of the jumbos through through GPS fitted radio collars.

As per reports, the radio coordinates will help monitor the movement of the elephants trying to trespass human habitation. The experts from the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) in Bengaluru have joined the forest department in helping them conduct the exercise.

As per the PCCF, two elephants in Chandaka sanctuary and four from the Similipal sanctuary will be set with radio collars on an experimental basis. The experts have high hopes of success as the method has a proven track record in other States.

Dipen Kalita, an elephant trainer said, “The radio collar will definitely help in locating the elephants which wreak havoc in villages and destroy crops. The forest department will find it relatively easy to ward them off.”

Not only this, the Odisha Forest Department has made efforts to deploy ‘Gaja Sathis’ in different wildlife divisions of the State to minimise man-animal conflict.

It is pertinent to mention here that at least 282 elephants have died in the last three years, while 921 persons have lost their lives to elephant attacks in the last 10 years.

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