Andhra Pradesh: Hamlets test chilli smoke method to keep tuskers away in
The Times of India
July 21, 2021
VISAKHAPATNAM: With the rise in human-elephant conflict across Vizianagaram
district, the forest department with the support of elephant expert Dr
Rudraditya has started awareness programmes among villagers. The programme
focuses on the use of chilli smoke to keep the jumbos away from human
habitations bordering forest areas.
With the support of the forest department, Dr Rudraditya, a veterinarian
doctor from Himachal Pradesh, has visited over 20 villages between the
Nagavalli River and Thotapalli Reservoir Project and demonstrated the
cost-effective method in hamlets where elephant herds have destroyed the
standing crop and killed residents in the past few years.
The chilli smoke technique propagated by Dr Rudraditya involves burning dry
red chilli with used engine oil in a gunny sack. The sack is tied to a
stick and placed on the boundary of the farm.
Rudraditya said the chilli fumes deter tuskers from entering the spot and
they do not return to the same place for a period of time. The wild animals
have a strong sense of smell and the chilli smoke can travel upto 500 to
1,000 meters. Most importantly, the method is low cost and can be used by
the locals. Several farmers, who have borne the brunt of the the jumbo
menace in the district, have said they will use the technique, he added.
“We have visited Dhuggi, Gunaanapuram, Bitharapadu, Ankulavalasa,
Panthulavalasa, Pelliguddi, Konavalasa and Dangabhadra villages in Komarada
mandal. With the support of Dr Rudraditya, we have demonstrated the chilli
smoke technique. It is one of the old methods to keep away jumbos from
human habitation,” said M Murali Krishna, forest range officer. “We are
hoping farmers will adopt the technique to solve the menace,” he added.
Meanwhile, a herd of four elephants has been moving in Srikakulam district
and a herd of six in Vizianagaram district. Among the ten, two are male,
one is around 13 years another is 5-years-old. The elephants came to the
Andhra Pradesh forest area from forests in neighbouring Odisha.
Altogether, seven people have been killed in human-elephant conflict in
Vizianagaram district in the past few years. Expressing displeasure over
the loss of crops and lives due to the jumbo menace, activist K Samba
Murthy said due to the scare of elephants, farmers have lost their crops in
the farm fields. The district administration and ministers from
Vizianagaram have failed to save lives and crops, he added.