Elephant-proof trench work along NMR stopped

Wildlife enthusiasts fear fragmentation of elephant corridor

Alternative measures to combat elephant intrusion suggested

Coimbatore: The Southern Railway authorities have called off their efforts to dig an elephant-proof trench along the Nilgiris Mountain Railway (NMR) from Kallar.

Following the killing of railway line maintenance staff recently and incidents of wild elephant herd chasing line maintenance personnel on two or three occasions, the authorities commenced the trench digging work.

This drew objection from wildlife enthusiasts stating that elephant-proof trenches would result in the fragmentation of the elephant corridor, preventing migration or movement of elephants from Coimbatore towards Sathyamangalam, Karnataka and other parts of Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve.

They pointed out that the fragmentation of the corridor and obstructions to the elephants’ movement would lead to their straying into human habitations.

The Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle , R. Kannan and District Forest Officer, I. Anwardeen had a meeting with officials from Southern Railway.

It is learnt that at the meeting, alternative measures to combat the elephant intrusion were suggested.

It was also suggested that five watch towers could be erected along the NMR line to monitor the movement of herds, besides utilising the services of tribals to help the railway line staff in their maintenance work.

Southern Railway recently stopped the trench work and closed the trenches dug up in the first few days.

From THE HINDU

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