The conflict between human and wildlife in India, particularly concerning damage caused by elephants, has been worsening and impacting various regions of the country. Efforts are underway to address this issue and reduce the negative interaction between human and elephants in North Odisha.
We have been using techniques like bio- fencing which acts as a physical natural barrier to protect crops from elephant damage. We have been planting lemon saplings at the edge of the cultivated field. WRCS teams from Odisha carried out a mass planting campaign of lemon saplings at the edges of the cultivated fields. According to farmers' requirements, 2,000 lemon seedlings were planted in Kasira village, Keonjhar district, Odisha. This will offer double benefits: Farmers can sell the lemons and protect their crops from elephants too!.
Another strategy involves using beehives to deter elephants. Bees which are known to provide one of the most important ecological services by pollinating plants. In India there are 6 types of species that are commonly found, rock bee (Apis dorsata), Indian Hive bee (Apis cerana indica), Dwarf bee (Apis florea), Italian bee (Apis mellifera),and stingless bee (Melipona irridipennis). The bees are commercially important in India as they produce honey. Elephants don’t like the buzzing sound of bees and hence, they try to avoid that place. With this understanding we have been training and encouraging local farmers to keep bee hives.
Additionally, third method we have been using in North Odisha is Chilly based deterrent Elephants have very sensitive trunks. Hence, they avoid areas with smoke and a strong smell of chilly. We have been training local farmers to make chilly dung cakes which can be placed close to the entry point of these elephants.
Fourth approach involves use of trip alarm. We have been installing the trip alarms close to the elephant entry points. As soon as the trip alarm rope is broken, the siren rings loudly. We have been distributing the trip alarm to farmers in North Odisha.
Fifth method is the flicker light. These flicker lights flicker through the night which creates an impression that people are present in the area. We have been providing flicker light and speakers to the local farmers of North Odisha. These are some of the simple ideas which need to be implemented by individual farmers to protect their crop.
We are grateful for the support JSW foundation and Odisha Forest Department in North Odisha and USFW in North Kannada respectively.