Andhra Pradesh to keep rogue jumbos at bay
V Kamalakara Rao, Deccan Chronicle
July 26, 2021
The Andhra Pradesh forest department has been conducting awareness camps to
sensitise people about ‘man-animal conflicts’ with the help of wildlife
experts. According to forest officials, the government is using three
innovative, effective and low-cost methods - WhatsApp, ultrasonic apps, and
chilli aromatic technique (CAT) or chilli smoke - to mitigate ‘man-animal
conflicts’ in the reserve forests and revenue areas where elephant menace
is on the rise.
Elephants avoid chilli smoke. One can burn chilli powder in gunny bags to
protect themselves from wild animals. Similarly, elephants detect
ultrasounds from a distance of nearly 10 kms and feel their enemy is ahead.
People can keep the jumbos away from their habitations by switching on
ultrasonic apps at night. The forest department formed a WhatsApp group
‘Save Pachyderms' to alert people and communicate with them directly in
case of an emergency.
According to the forest department sources, the state has nearly 300
elephants. Around 50 of them have now been out of their designated
enclosures like Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary in Chittoor. Around 40 jumbos
roam revenue areas close to the forest in Chittoor, four elephants in
Srikakulam and six elephants in Vizianagaram districts for more than a
“There have been numerous instances of ‘man-animal conflict’ and some of
them led to human deaths and property damages. We have left no stone
unturned to control the jumbos and save the people from them. We adopted
soft methods like the CAT, awareness campaigns through the WhatsApp group
among others," Kurupam forest range officer M. Murali Krishna told this
The forest department has even taken the services of a wildlife expert on
elephants, Dr. Rudraditya from Himachal Pradesh, who toured nearly 15
villages in the state last week to bring awareness among the villagers and
suggest to the forest team on how to handle the jumbos when they come close
to plain areas.
Komarada mandal Kambavalasa sarpanch A. Venkata Lakshmi said, "We were told
to use low-cost CAT to protect ourselves from jumbos. We were told to use
chili smoke when the jumbos come close to our village."
Speaking to this correspondent, Dr Rudraditya said he had 18 years of
experience in handling rogue elephants in countries like Africa, Zambia,
Namibia, Tanzania, Thailand, and Nepal. The ultrasonic sound was tested in
Vizianagaram district and gave successful results, he said while adding
that this was the second time he visited the district after 2015.
“The same methods I applied in AP. Elephants killed my parents. I became a
vet to handle elephants," Dr. Rudraditya said.
A senior forest officer said they had proposed an elephant camp at north
coastal AP with 10 elephants, which migrated to Andhra Pradesh in 2007. “If
it happens, tourism will be developed in the vicinity of Vizag, which will
be projected as the executive capital of AP,” said a forest source in
When contacted, the state tourism minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao said,
“I will have a look into the proposed elephant camp before commenting on