Rising cases of conflict between elephants and people, mainly paddy farmers, has prompted the state forest department to pick the brains of intellectuals, teachers, researchers, eminent persons and students to stop the brawny damage caused by the endangered mammals.
The department has asked respective divisional forest officials (DFOs) to organise seminars in districts concerned, an initiative that will start from Tuesday, Gandhi Jayanti.
“It’s a day to celebrate non-violence, so we thought it was an apt time to start,” state principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) A.K. Mishra said.
The feedback of the seminars would be compiled for the mega meet in the state capital tentatively on October 18.
“We need to go to the root of the problem and draft plans to minimise the man-animal conflict for good,” Mishra said, adding he was trying to involve chief minister Hemant Soren and experts from across India.
Mishra added they had identified a 30sqkm area in Tundi (Dhanbad) to convert it into a zone for wild elephants with food and water.
Negating the assumption that DFOs weren’t doing enough in districts such as Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Giridih and Bokaro, where herds on rampage had recently damaged homes and crops and trampled individuals to death, Mishra said elephants didn’t identify manmade boundaries.
“What make elephants violent are shrinking natural habitats and food. We hope our elephant habitat in Tundi, devoid of villages, works out. We will explore the possibility of such pockets in Giridih and Hazaribagh too,” he said.
He added it was a matter of joy that two calves had been born in a month, one each in Hazaribagh and Tundi. “It’s heartening that elephant numbers are growing. But their habitats are decreasing everywhere, which is the real reason for conflict,” he said.