Tamil Nadu Forest Dept Launches AIBased System to Avert Elephant Deaths
Near Railway Tracks
Ronit Singh, Republic World
February 10, 2024
The Tamil Nadu Forest Department on Friday launched an Artificial
Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning-backed surveillance system to avert
elephant deaths on railway tracks.
Forest Minister M Mathiventhan launched the system in Madukkarai,
Coimbatore district. The Coimbatore forest division experienced a
significant increase in Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) in recent times,
claimed a government report.
The increasing cases of HEC occured due to rising elephant population,
disturbances in migration corridors, increased developmental activities in
and along the animal migratory paths and changes in land use patterns and
agricultural practices. The elephants in the Coimbatore forest division are
seasonal migrants, who move from Nilgiris and Sathyamangalam to forest
areas in Kerala.
Remarking on the initiative, Tamil Nadu Forest Minister Dr Mathiventhan
said, “We are very happy and delighted to introduce a new system. The first
time of its kind in the entire country. This is a system where you have
this artificial intelligence incorporated.”
Explaining the need for such initiative, he said, “This technology is like,
you have two railway tracks in the Coimbatore division... We have the
Vaigai River, and we have the elephants crossing these railway tracks...
The main thing which the elephants faced was when they crossed these
railway tracks, they got hit by the trains which used to run by the tracks.
So it's been a long time since we used to apply many kinds of ideologies
and plans to prevent this elephant from being hit by the train.”
"We had many watchers and guards and foresters who were deployed for this,
to save the elephants. And it was a 24/7 procedure which they used to do
for the past many years. But whatever it is this time, we thought, using
this artificial intelligence and with this technology, we want to do a more
efficient system to safeguard the elephants as well as the passenger
train," the minister added.