Canned tiger noises to scare away elephants!
By Jose Kurian
12 Jul 2009 12:03:00 AM IST
SULTHAN BATHERY: The problem is as old as the hills but the solution touted for it is as freshly minted — if a bit too ingenious — as they come.
To save the farming community living on the fringes of forests from elephant herds that regularly attack their crops, the Forest Department is all set to use the recorded sounds of roaring tigers, the natural enemies of elephants, to scare away the pachyderms.
No more need for firecrackers, bullet shots or teams of Forest personnel doing their nocturnal beats. All it takes to keep entire herds away is a single person with an electronic gadget.
The idea is Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary warden V K Sreevalsan’s brainchild.
The instrument has already been successfully used to scare away the herds in the Muthanga range of the sanctuary these past few weeks.
“In our field trials, it proved a hundred per cent success,” Sreevalsan told ‘Express’. “After hearing the pre-recorded roars of tigers, entire herds cleared the spot in no time,” he says.
It was an article on using sounds made by enemy animals to scare away elephants that inspired Sreevalsan to introduce the idea. Arun Zacharia, the department’s veterinary surgeon, soon did a test on the behaviour of the elephants when the ‘recorded roars’ were played with the right amplification.
And it proved positive.
The instrument, much improvised since the original version proved too unwieldy, weighs hardly 7 kg and one person can easily handle it. It is quite effective even from a distance of 400 meters.
Plans are now afoot to improve the system into one which would automatically give off the canned ‘roars’ whenever a elephant herd steps into a farm.
The buzz of African honeybees, the roars of lions and recorded sound of firecrackers would be tested simultaneously to study the relative impact.
The technical assistance for the production of the instrument was provided by Asia Tech, Sulthan Bathery.
After the successful ground trial at Muthanga, the instrument has been taken to the Tholppetti range near Mananthavadi.