HC panel to consider long-term measures to address human-elephant conflict in Idukki

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A Eucalyptus plantation at Anayirankal near Chinnakkanal in Idukki.

A Eucalyptus plantation at Anayirankal near Chinnakkanal in Idukki.

The High Court-appointed expert panel would consider long-term measures to address the human-elephant conflict in Chinnakkanal and Santhanpara panchayats in Idukki, according to sources.

Officials said the team will submit a detailed report soon before the court. The committee will also consider the local people’s demand for habitat restoration to ensure proper food security for wild elephants in Anayirankal.

“ The expert committee found the Eucalyptus plantation in Chinnakanal and felt it will not provide food to wild elephants,” a source said.

M.N. Jayachandran, district secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said, “ The Forest department can easily change 365 hectares of eucalyptus plantation in the Anayirankal region as a natural grassland. It would ensure proper food security to the wild elephants,” said Mr Jayachandran.

P. N. Jaimon, a farmer in Sinkukandam, said, “ If the Forest department plants Bamboo in the border catchment area of Anayirankal dam and changes the 365 hectares of eucalyptus plantation as grassland it will ensure proper food security for the elephants. “ he said.

“ Till the Forest department planted Eucalyptus trees in Anayirankal, the elephants had enough food and no major human-elephant issues,” said Mr Jaimon.

An official said that the Forest department had already decided to remove exotic species from forest areas. “The project has already been implemented in some places of the State, and it is a big success,” said the official.

The Forest department completed an eco-restoration project to grow natural grasslands inside a forest area at the Pazathottam area in Anamudi Shola National Park in Idukki.

According to Forest department officials, over 50 hectares of forest land in the national park was gutted in a fire five years ago. The department then, on a trial basis, started an eco-restoration project. Exotic species were cleared from the forest land, and natural grass was planted. The grass grew to a better level, and within months, the area got converted into a natural grassland.

Meanwhile, the High Court-appointed expert panel will conduct a final meeting on Monday and fix a place to translocate Arikompan.

“ We hope to approve a suitable place to translocate to Arikompan on Monday. The expert panel will hand over the approved place to the government in a sealed cover. The Forest department can move ahead with the darting process when the committee finalizes the place,” said the source.


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