Trench causes conflicts, confusion
West Bengal's efforts to check elephant movement have backfired
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.