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Current Affairs

Elephant collaring

Date: 24 November 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Assam’s forest department and World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-India have together collaborated on an operation to radio-collar wild elephants for the first time.

 

Background

The radio-collaring is usually carried out on animals such as tigers to determine their location and studying their territorial pattern.

 

Details

The radio collaring is a step towards mitigating human-elephant conflict in the state. The task is challenging but the government is planning to radio collar elephants in high conflict areas.

 

Radio collars

  • Radio-collars are GPS enabled devices that provide information about an animal’s location. They are fitted around necks of animals.

  • The devices fitted on elephants weigh about 8 kg. The process involves identifying a suitable elephant, sedating it, fitting it around its neck and later reviving it.

  • An accelerometer is also attached to the device to know the task the elephant is performing such as walking, running, eating etc.

 

Information obtained through radio collaring

  • Information about movement pattern of elephant herds, habitat frequented, the protection status, encounter with human settlements etc can be studied.

  • People can be given information about approaching elephant herds and they can prepare accordingly to protect their lives and farms.

 

Need for the study

The traditional habitats and corridors of elephants are shrinking. There is a need to study range of migration and take steps to protect existing forests.

 

Toughness of the process

  • The process of collaring elephants is delicate and time-consuming exercise. There is a risk of life of officials involved as they have to travel by foot.

  • The components of radio-collar and tranquilizing drugs are not available in India. They have to be imported and are costly.

  • The chosen elephant should be part of the herd for most of the time. It should also be grown up so that collar size is uniform for future use.

 

Human-elephant conflict in Assam

  • About 249 elephants and 761 people were killed during 2010-2019 as a direct result of human-elephant conflict.

  • Large number of elephant habitats in the northern banks of Brahmaputra has been lost due to expansion of agriculture. There is a need to maintain a steady habitat.