MADURAI: The Tamil Nadu government has set up an expert committee to study the conflict between human beings and elephants in the Gudalur area and to come up with holistic solutions.
The development came after several people lost their lives to elephant attacks at O- Valley in Gudalur in May and June.
The committee, headed by Conservator of Forests and Madumalai Tiger Reserve Field Director D. Venkatesh, has District Forest Officer Kommu Omkaram, Government Arts College, Udhagamandalam, Assistant Professor, Wildlife Biology B. Ramakrishnan, WWF India landscape coordinator D. Boominathan, Shola Tust Managing Trustee Tarsh Thekkekara, and Wildlife Institute of India senior scientist Dr K. Ramesh as members.
The committee has already commenced discussions with the local people, including tea plantation owners, local residents, and tea plantation owners to understand the negative human-elephant interactions. It is also hearing the demands of the local community to install physical barriers to prevent the entry of elephants into the human settlements.
"We are meeting all the stakeholders and undertaking discussions. Whether physical barriers are to be put up to prevent elephants from entering the human settlements is a policy decision and we will take all the inputs," a committee member told IANS.
The committee has decided to first study the landscape and properly understand the problems leading to the foraying of elephants into human settlements and then only take a call on the physical barriers.