New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) With a new rhino area to monitor and rising man-animal conflict to control, Uttar Pradesh's Dudhwa National Park will get ten elephants from Karnataka to deal with the situation, officials told IANS on Monday.
According to a recent report, over 156 people were killed or injured between 2000 and 2013 due to man-animal conflict in the Dudhwa-Pilibhit area. With big cats frequently venturing out or around the buffer area which is full of villages, the forest department needed more elephants.
Situated next to the porous Indo-Nepal border, Dudhwa also has a new rhino rehabilitation centre where four rhinos were relocated. The forest department requires two elephant units for better monitoring of the new rhino area spread over 21 sq km.
The elephants will join 13 elephants already stationed at Dudhwa for patrolling and monitoring. They will cover about 2,500 km in a convoy of trucks carrying elephants and food under the supervision of vets and foresters, officials told IANS.
"Basically the primary function is patrolling along the Indo-Nepal border where foot and jeep patrolling is next to impossible... apart from that some elephants will be shifted to buffer area where man-animal conflict is high," Dudhwa National Park Director Sunil Choudhary told IANS over phone.
Choudhary and his deputy Mahaveer Kaujalagi said that keeping the warm weather in mind, they are avoiding travel during the day time.
The transfer is a goodwill gesture from the Karnataka Forest Department that had earlier this year also sent elephants to Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
"There are over 105 elephants in eight different camps. This is the first time Karnataka is giving elephants to other states strictly to aid the states with their conservation plans," Karnataka Forest Department Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Jayaram told IANS.
Able to venture deep into the forests, elephants are the key for better monitoring in order to check wildlife crime, according to Dudhwa Deputy Director Mahaveer Kaujalagi.
Earlier this year, Dudhwa received its first sniffer dog.
"The new rhino area needs active monitoring and man-animal conflict has to be mitigated, all this increased pressure on the existing elephant units here. Ten more of these will help us conserve in a better manner," said Kaujalagi.
Home to a highly diverse ecosystem at the heart of the Terai region bordering Nepal, Dudhwa has several endangered animals, including tigers, elephants, Indian rhino, leopard, barasingha (swamp deer), sloth bear and others.