Kerala: electric hanging fence of 29 km to deter the jumbos of Karnataka | News from Kozhikode

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KOZHIKODE: Five panchayats under the Karadka block in Kasaragod will build a 29 km suspended electric fence, the longest deterrent in the state, to ward off stray wild elephants coming from the forests of Karnataka and wreaking havoc on human dwellings along the border.
The Rs 5-crore Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Project will be funded with funds from their plan and other sources. “The hanging fence is expected to provide a long-term solution to the threat of wild elephants. The funds from the Block Panchayat Plan and the Grama Panchayat Plan will be used for this purpose, as resolving human-wildlife conflicts is as important as building roads and bridges. be implemented by the Kerala Police Housing and Construction Corporation, ”said Karadka Block Panchayat Chairman Sigi Mathew.
The initiative closely follows the Karadka bloc panchayat which has formed a popular Rapid Response Team (RRT) to bring stray wild elephants back to the forests. Adopting a participatory approach, 21 local young people were trained and appointed members of the RRT in September. They are paid around Rs 900 per day from panchayat funds and the project has been successful.
Major portion of the hanging fence in forest land, will cost Rs 6.5 L / km
Mathew said a significant portion of the hanging fence will be installed in forest land. The fence, which will be powered largely by solar energy, will stretch from Modiyar in Delampady panchayat to Kannadithodu in Kuttikkol panchayat. “The field survey will begin on November 11 and construction in December. We hope to complete an eight kilometer stretch within a few months, ”he said.
Kasaragod Division Forestry Officer P Dhanesh Kumar said the stray elephants causing problems in the area mainly originated from the Sullia Range of Mangaluru Forestry Division and Thalakkavery Forests in Karnataka. “Traditional mitigation mechanisms like trenches and solar fences have proven inadequate. Hanging fences are relatively cost effective as they can be completed at Rs 6.5 lakh / km, compared to around Rs 1.5 crore for railway fences and perimeter walls. The maintenance cost will also be much lower as long as it does not hamper the movement of non-target species, ”he said.
The fence will have 1.2mm thick steel wires hung in a row from a 1.5mm thick horizontal overhead wire supported by two 11 meter high iron poles at each end. The wires will be connected to solar power systems or other low power sources where there is a large canopy. The wires hang like a curtain up to four meters from the ground, allowing small wild animals to pass underneath.
“The Kasaragod forested areas had not seen much threat from wild elephants until 2002, but from then on, herds of elephants from the Karnataka forests started to arrive. While the elephants have mastered how to trample on the traditional electric fences installed on the ground, we hope they will struggle to damage the hanging steel wires, ”said Solomon Thomas George, head of Kasaragod Forest Park.
The project is expected to benefit more than 10,200 people residing in these panchayats in addition to protecting crops on 1,200 acres. Farmers are estimated to have suffered crop losses to the tune of Rs 35 crore in the region due to human-wildlife conflict.

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