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Tripura launches drive to fit radio collars on wild elephants for tracking

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NewsDrum Desk
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Agartala, May 13 (PTI) The Tripura Forest department has launched a special drive to fit radio collars on wild elephants, which have been creating problems across human habitations in the Khowai district for the last few months, officials said on Monday.

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The four-day-long drive, carried out by four teams, began on Saturday. It will cover all the natural habitations of the jumbos in Teliamura and Mugiakami hills, a senior forest department official said.

"Amid reports of human-animal conflicts in some forest areas, we have launched a four-day drive to put radio collars on two or three male elephants, which have strayed away and created trouble in nearby human habitations," the District Forest Officer (DFO), Khowai, Akshay B Bhorde, told PTI.

Earlier, the department had fitted a radio collar on one elephant, which was roaming around in the Atharamura hill range in Khowai district.

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Separate teams for tracking, sighting, darting (tranquillizing) and fixing radio collars have been engaged in the mission, he said, adding that 19-20 elephants are reportedly roaming around the Atharamura hill range, which is considered a natural habitat for wild elephants.

He said a Bangalore-based trust - Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) - has been assisting the forest department in the drive, and a renowned veterinary doctor, K K Sharma, is stationed at Teliamura for help, in case of any urgency.

"Last year, we had fitted a radio collar on one elephant. But now it appears two or three male jumbos have started living separately, and they are coming out of the jungles often and creating trouble in human habitations," Bhorde said.

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Asserting that there is no permanent solution to human-animal conflict, with destruction and encroachment of reserve forest areas, Bhorde said that the conflict could be minimised, only if an early warning system (radio colour), is ensured.

"If we succeed in fixing radio collars on two or three male troublesome elephants, their movement can be sighted, and accordingly, alerts will be sounded to minimize human casualty," he said.

It is the only way to combat the ongoing conflict in some areas, he added. PTI PS SBN SBN

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