The state's principal secretary, Chandan Sinha, said trenches and electrical fencing were posing a problem for problems the elephants while returning to the Dalma region and the forests in Nepal.
With 108 people killed by wild elephants in the state in 2015-16, the West Bengal Forest Department has chalked out a two-pronged approach to deal with the man-elephant conflict in the state which has reached an “alarming” situation.
“In 2015-2016, 108 people were killed and 95 injured by wild elephants in the state. Out of these 108, 71 have been killed in south Bengal. A total of 14 elephants have been killed in these incidents. We have reached an alarming situation in Bengal,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Pradeep Vyas said.
He said that the forest department took a two-pronged “holistic approach” to deal with the human-elephant conflict in the state.
“We have two parts in dealing with the issue– short term and long term. In short term, we are monitoring the movement of the elephants in the state on a daily basis. All the human injury or wildlife injury will be monitored on a daily basis,” Vyas said.
“Secondly, we have also formed an Elephant Movement Coordination Committee (EMCC), which was not there earlier. It is headed by two chief conservators.”
“This committee monitors the movement of elephant in south West Bengal regularly and ensures that unnecessary obstructions are not caused in the smooth movement of elephants. Because if the elephants are obstructed repeatedly they might get irritated and conflict might increase,” he said.
Vyas said, “The committee is functioning in an excellent manner for the last two months and has ensured the return of 70-80 elephants to Jharkhand.”
“We are making two elephant rescue and rehabilitation centres, one in north Bengal and another in south Bengal. Those elephants which are very aggressive in nature will be captured and put in these centres where they will stay in conditions similar to that in the wild,” he said.
The state’s principal secretary, Chandan Sinha, said trenches and electrical fencing were posing a problem for problems the elephants while returning to the Dalma region and the forests in Nepal.
“Earlier the elephants went back after staying in Bankura for four months and now they are staying here for 10 months. They are facing problems in returning to Dalma due to trenches created by local people. The same problem is being faced in areas bordering Nepal due to the erection of electrical fencing,” Sinha said.
Vyas said that the Forest Department had started mapping the barriers in the elephant corridors and movements of the tuskers in the region.
“We are doing the barrier mapping of all the elephant corridors in north and south Bengal, so that movement of elephants are not hindered by individual trenches or our trenches,” he said.
“We are also giving high priority in imparting staff training … in elephant identification and immobilization training. Every wildlife division of the state should have immobilization training and immobilization equipment.
“These training will continue in every division on a three-month basis. We have also placed order for more tranquilizing guns and immobilization equipment. We will also have Rapid response teams,” he said.
According to the Forest Department sources, Mayur Jharna elephant reserve, declared protected area in 2002, had been identified as having massive habitat management potential to cater to the elephants in south West Bengal.
Vyas said these steps were necessary as humans killed by elephants in West Bengal accounted for over 20 per cent of such causalities in the country