COIMBATORE

Monitoring helps understand behavioural patterns of jumbos

The profiling and monitoring of wild elephants in Coimbatore Forest Division has helped the Forest Department identify crucial behavioural patterns of the pachyderms.

The Department has been monitoring the elephant population and incidents of them straying from forest boundaries in seven forest ranges of the division. It was found that the division witnessed more incidents of elephants entering farmlands and human habitations during the seasonal migration.

I. Anwardeen, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, said the elephants come to Coimbatore division from larger landscapes including Nilambur elephant population in Kerala.

It was found that some male elephants were recruiting female elephants and younger males for crop raids.

Number of crop raids in places such as Anaikatti reduced after some of the long-standing crop raider males, including those nicknamed Vinayagan and Chinna Thambi, were captured and translocated.

The male elephant which was killed after being hit by a train near Walayar recently was also identified as an individual which used to recruit other elephants for crop raids. Its profile was done based on movement and behavioural patterns several months ago.

However, male population in the division was assessed to be healthy and increasing as more numbers of tuskers and calves were seen during monitoring in all forest ranges.

According to Mr. Anwardeen, incidents of crop raiding were present in the past too. However, these incidents did not raise concern due to low density of human habitations near forest boundaries, he said.

“Elephants are believed to have this bio-geographical understanding and they move towards good grazing areas and places where water is available. Population from the western side of the Western Ghats will move towards the eastern side and rain shallow areas like Coimbatore forest division from September to December ahead of the Northeast monsoon,” he said.

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The officer added that the forest division would soon come out with crucial findings of the elephant population based on the daily monitoring and profiling of male elephants.

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