Trench causes con­flicts, con­fu­sion

West Ben­gal's ef­forts to check ele­phant move­ment have back­fired

Down to Earth - - CONFLICT -

A 6.5 KM trench, built by West Ben­gal, to con­trol in­ter-state ele­phant move­ment has given rise to twin prob­lems: in­creased hu­man-an­i­mal con­flicts in Jam­bad vil­lage along the Ben­gal-Jhark­hand bor­der and a drop in ele­phant count in the Dalma Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary, Jhark­hand. There are three en­try points to Dalma. Most ele­phants, how­ever, en­ter the sanc­tu­ary from Ben­gal through a tra­di­tional 6-7 km wide cor­ri­dor sit­u­ated near Ghat­sila. But this year, the trench con­fused the an­i­mals. As a re­sult, Dalma counted lesser num­ber of ele­phants dur­ing the cen­sus con­ducted on May 9-12, as com­pared to pre­vi­ous years. How­ever, of­fi­cial fig­ures are unavail­able. Be­sides re­duced count, Jam­bad is fac­ing in­creased raids. Vil­lage prad­han Gouranga Gope says af­ter the trench was dug, more ele­phants are en­ter­ing the vil­lage and de­stroy­ing houses and crops.

Ele­phant ex­pert D S Shri­vas­tava feels such prob­lems can­not be treated in iso­la­tion, as one should keep in mind ele­phants' be­havioural pat­tern. When ele­phants face ob­struc­tion dur­ing mi­gra­tion, they raid vil­lages which come in their way.

k'XH WR WKH WUHQFK ele­phants are us­ing dif­fer­ent routes, which has in­creased con­flicts in new ar­eas. I have al­ready writ­ten to West Ben­gal's prin­ci­pal chief con­ser­va­tor of forests (PCCF), wildlife. The trench is caus­ing more con­flicts in Jhark­hand and it will be harm­ful for Ben­gal too. The tra­di­tional route should not be blocked,y says L R Singh, PCCF, Jhark­hand.

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