chinnakkanal: Forestry Department to repair hanging solar fences at Chinnakkanal | Kochi News

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Idukki: Forestry Department to Install Hanging Solar Fences in Chinnakkana Region Munnar to combat human-animal conflict. The special initiative is taken based on the study conducted by elephant researcher Surendra Varma on the behavior of elephants in the area. The study found that the elephants were camping in the area due to the availability of tasty food.
Munnar Divisional Forestry Officer Raju Francis said the forestry department will soon repair the solar fences hanging in the area.
“I will submit a report in this regard to the Chief Wildlife Warden based on Varma’s recommendation,” he said.
Solar fences have thick steel wires suspended in a row from a thick horizontal overhead wire supported by two iron posts at each end. The wires will be connected to solar power systems or other low power sources where there is a significant canopy. The wires hang like a curtain, which will deter jumbos from entering human habitations, but allow small wild animals to pass underneath.
Forest department officials said the wild elephants were destroying normal solar fences and entering human dwellings. “We hope the overhead solar fence will be helpful in preventing them from entering human habitations,” a forestry official said.
“The suspended fence will be fixed on the premises of the houses in Panthadikkalam and an area of ​​80 acres in Chinnakkana. The cost of fixing a normal fence is Rs 1.5 lakh per km, while the hanging fence is Rs 6.5 lakh per km. The forest department plans to fence nearly 20km to control the entry of wild elephants into the area,” a forestry official said.
According to Forest Department sources, implementing Varma’s recommendations will take at least a year to a year and a half. “We can’t wait that long and have decided to put up hanging fences first,” an official said.
Officials said the encampment of elephants in the area not only poses a threat to humans but also to elephants. “During the period 2004-05, there were 40 elephants in the Chinnakkana region. Over the years, the number of elephants in the region has decreased and it is now only 24. Elephants in the region do not receive proper nutritious food, which affects their reproductive power. In the absence of proper nutritious food, the tusks become less interested in mating and roam the area. The number of new calves in the area has also dropped significantly,” a Forest Department source said.
According to sources, more than 41 people have lost their lives in wild elephant attacks in Munnar wildlife division since 2010.
The district secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, MN Jayachandran, said the government had allocated human settlements in Chinnakkanal without proper study. “When the government issued settlements in the area, it affected the smooth movement of elephants, resulting in human-animal conflict. Now people and elephants are the victims of the government’s wrong decision,” Jayachandran said.
Munnar’s former MPO, Prekrithi Sreevastava, had submitted a report to the state government in 2002-2003 which stressed that the government should not allow settlements in and around the Anayirankal Dam areas. But the AK Antony government ignored the report and allowed settlements in 301 settlements in Sinkukandam and Chempakathamkudy areas.
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