Tamil Nadu govt forms expert panel to study elephants

The State Forest Department has formed an 11-member expert committee to study elephant population of Tamil Nadu from 2006.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden S. Yuvaraj constituted the committee which has Shekar Kumar Niraj, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), as chairperson and S. Anand, District Forests Officer, Madurai, as member secretary.

The committee is expected to submit the report to the Chief Wildlife Warden by December 12, 2020. It will study if the measures taken, such as elephant-proof tranches, solar fencing, wall construction, were good enough in controlling elephant migration.

“The committee will look into various aspects of elephant habitat restoration and amelioration measures. It is also requested to come out with suitable comprehensive proposal with an estimation of cost,” an official circular issued on July 4 stated.

Elephant experts Aiay Desai from Bengaluru, Sivaganesan from Chennai, C. Arivazhagan, managing trustee of the Indo American Wildlife Society in Chennai, veterinarians M. Kalaivanan, from Theni and A. Predeep from Chennai and D. Boominathan of World Wide Fund (WWF), Coimbatore, Nitin Sekar, coordinator of WWF in Coimbatore, veterinarian Sree Kumar from Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and a representative of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Southern region, Chennai, are other members of the committee.

A study has revealed that spill-over incidents of elephants outside reserve forests to farms and habitations was on an upward trend, said S Yuvaraj, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Chief Wildlife Warden. The committee will also study the socio-economic structure of these villages.