.........ROURKELA: The Rourkela forest division plans to set up more solar fencing, elephant-proof trench and water bodies in the forest at vulnerable points to prevent human-elephant conflict.
After frequent intrusion of elephants from Kamarpahar and Brahmani reserve forests in Kuanrmunda forest range to fringe areas of Rourkela city, the Forest department set up about 15 km-long solar fencing from Pradhanpali to Tumkela along the river Koel. This apart, 17 km of area was solar-fenced to secure IDL Colony, on the outskirts of the city besides the forested Rudukupedi and Bagdega villages. The elephant-prone routes in Kamarpahar and Brahmani reserve forests have also been cut off with digging of 6.7 km elephant-proof trenches measuring 2.5- metre depth, 1.5-metre lower width and 3- metre upper width.
Rourkela DFO Sanjeet Kumar said a temporary habitat with large artificial water body measuring about 10,000 sq metres and enrichment plantation has been created in South Chirubera reserve forest to prevent entry of migratory elephants from Jharkhand.
Similar habitat with large water body has been created in Rudukupedi reserve forest to prevent elephants from entering human habitations from Bamra of Sambalpur district. Around 68 small water bodies are also being created at strategic forest locations of the division.
Rourkela Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) J K Mohanty claimed that during summer, elephants keep themselves confined to areas near water sources. Areas having solar fencing and trenches are also witnessing drop in elephant intrusion, he added.
Two days back, an adult male elephant was found dead at Jamardihi village of the division and due to frequent movement of a herd, about 12 families were shifted from the village.
The DFO said after area mapping, Jamardihi village would be secured with solar fencing. Plans are afoot to set up solar fencing and elephant-proof trench at a few other vulnerable points. He said the railways have also been instructed to erect iron fencing along the tracks and take other preventive measures between Bimlagarh and Chandiposh stations to check elephant casualty due to train accident.
The division, spread over 912 sq km with six forest ranges, has 84 Reserve Forests (RFs), 14 Proposed RFs, 36 Demarcated Protected Forests and 35 Village Forests.
Check on intrusions
15 km solar fencing set up by Forest dept from Pradhanpali to Tumkela along river Koel
17 km was solar-fenced to secure IDL Colony, on the outskirts of Rourkela city
6.7 km elephant-proof trenches dug in regular routes in Kamarpahar and Brahmani reserve forests 10,000 sqm artificial water body created in temporary habitat in South Chirubera reserve forest to stop migratory elephants from Jharkhand.