Elephant task force report to be implemented

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ELEPHANTBANGALORE, June 27;With the episode of a herd of wild elephants straying into the outskirts of Bangalore and killing four persons bringing the focus on handling man-animal conflict, Forest Minister B. Ramanath Rai on Wednesday said that the government would implement the recommendation of the Karnataka High Court-appointed Elephant Task Force to reduce man-animal conflict at a cost of about Rs. 100 crore within two years.

Mr. Rai, who held a meeting with top-ranking officials of the Forest Department on Tuesday besides visiting Anekal and Hoskote after the elephant attacks, said that the Forest Department had Rs. 30 crore with it. The balance would be sanctioned from the allocation to be made for the department in the State budget, he said.

According to him, most of these funds would be spent on creating elephant-proof trenches, putting up solar-powered fences around forest boundaries and removing obstacles in the elephant corridors in Sakleshpur and Alur region of Hassan and surrounding areas where the man-animal conflict has reached an alarming proportion.

The process of implementation of the recommendations would be taken up in phases, he noted. The 13-member elephant task force has recommended creation of elephant conservation zone, elephant-human coexistence zone and elephant removal zones besides prevention of commercial infrastructure projects near elephant corridors.

Replying to queries, Mr. Rai said he would get a report from experts on the methods of preventing man-animal conflict on the outskirts of Bangalore in the wake of the recent episode. “Based on the report, we will take steps to prevent such conflicts,” he said.

The Minister observed that such conflicts were happening mainly because the natural elephant corridors had been affected due to urbanisation.

He said he had held a meeting with legislators from areas affected by man-animal conflict, he said.

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