Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Amid growing apprehension among locals, Odisha government has decided to deploy trained Kumki elephants to check intrusion of tigers at Satkosia Tiger Reserve (STR) into human settlements.

The Kumki elephants will be brought from Karnataka and would be engaged to keep a vigil on the tigers which were brought from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve to Satkosia.

Chief Wildlife Warden, Sandeep Tripathy informed that Odisha government has already cleared the proposal and talks have begun with officials of Karnataka Forest Department.

“We have mooted a proposal to bring three Kumki elephants from Karnataka. This will be beneficial to carry out extensive operations, keep vigil on tigers and other aspects especially during monsoon,” said Tripathy.

At present, two trained Kumki elephants –Rajkumar and Mahendra brought from Karnataka a few years back are engaged in patrolling inside Simlipal.

Forest officials informed that the fresh proposal to bring Kumki elephants will assist in putting a check on rising incidents of man-animal conflict.

Besides, the trained elephants can also be used to rein in wild elephant herds and carry out patrolling inside deep forests and other inaccessible areas.

“It would certainly be beneficial as tigers would naturally fear elephants. The elephants can also be used for patrolling which can also help to check incidents of poaching and other wildlife crimes,” said wildlife expert, Bijayketan Patnaik.