Solar fencing to stop man-elephant conflict

Berhampur: Odisha government has decided to make solar fencing in Ganjam to arrest increasing man-elephant conflicts in Ganjam district. In the first phase, around five-km stretch would be fenced near Narayani jungle under Khallikote forest range to prevent entry of jumbos into human habitats.

"The work for solar fencing will start after the elephant herds are driven away Ganjam block," divisional forest officer, Berhampur AK Jena said. At least 22 elephants divided into three to four herds are now camping in Damanagiri forest in Ganjam block. Around Rs 10 lakh was needed for solar fencing in five-km stretch. The government has already sanctioned Rs five lakh and assured to provide the rest amount, DFO said. Solar fencing will give the animals a sharp, but safe shock that would prevent them from venturing into the human habitats, the wildlife officials said.

Solar fencing in other entry areas of the animals would be made after assessment of this project, he added. A meeting was held over the week-end to review the loss caused due to the elephant depredation and the remedial measures taken. Sub-collector, Chhatrapur AK Jena and the members of the coordination committee to prevent the elephant menace in the area attended the meeting, sources said.

While at least seven persons died, four pachyderms were killed in the area due to man-elephant conflicts in the area in the last three years. The standing crops in huge areas were also destroyed by the tuskers, while people in at least four blocks – Chhatrapur, Khallikote, Beguniapada and Ganjam spent sleepless nights due to the presence of elephants.