Trained elephants will drive out the elephants which are straying into human habitations and unleashing mayhem. The animals will also help forest guards and officials in other works in jungles. The initiative is expected to ward off man-animal conflict in forested pockets of the state.
In the initial phase, five elephants from Kapilash will be brought to Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar to receive Kumki training.
PCCF(Wildlife) Susanta Nanda said, “Trained elephants are needed to mitigate man-animal conflict. The state government is planning to impart training to elephants initially at four places -- Chandaka, Satkosia, Kapilash and Similipal. Later, the training will be arranged at Debrigarh Sanctuary too. The elephants will be trained by expert mahouts. As Odisha lacks such mahouts, they will be brought from other states.”
He also added that the forest department has drawn up a special blueprint to mitigate the man-animal conflict.
The training programme for elephants is nothing new to Odisha. In the 90’s there was a training provision for elephants at Chandaka and Similipal. However, the initiative gradually petered out. Now, the forest department has decided to impart training to elephants for various reasons.
The trained elephants will help forest officials in forest protection, cleaning tracks in forests, rescuing wild animals in danger, helping forest officials to tranquilize wild animals, and transporting seized items from smugglers and poachers in forested areas.
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Wildlife expert Lala AK Singh said that once trained, the elephants will take the commands from mahouts and come in handy in the rescue of wild animals from wells or ditches.
The forest department has decided to take five out of seven elephants from Kapilah for training. Environmentalist Sishir Satpathy observed that what the visitors will see if most elephants will be taken from here.”