The infrared signal boards installed in Karnataka alerts the commuters and forest department officials about presence of elephants
With the human-animal conflicts on the rise, the forest departments in India are trying new methods to resolve them. For example, the forest division located in Karnataka’s Kodagu district is testing a first-of-its-kind initiative where signal boards put up in conflict zones alert the people and forest staff about the presence and movement of wild elephants.
These functional signals are boards with elephant signage that have been erected by A. Rocha India — a conservation research organisation — in collaboration with the Kodagu Division Forest Department at five conflict zones that are spread across Meenukolli and Anekudu forest limits.
Functioning as an early warning system for commuters and people, these boards are automated with infrared signals. Placed at an optimum height, these infrared beams are able to detect the presence of elephants. Once movement of wild elephants is detected, the signal board lights up, providing a warning to the passers-by and commuters to either halt or slow down.
Going further, once the presence of the elephants is found, the signals are pushed to the SMS server system and the local Divisional Range Forest Officers can then track and monitor the movement of the animals. To make these signal boards eco-friendly and economically viable they are solar-powered while they are provided with an electricity supply also to run them in the absence of sunlight.
Talking about these elephant boards, Avinash Krishnan, CEO of A. Rocha India said they were first tested in Bannerghatta where more than 50 detections of elephant movement have been recorded so far. Now this facility has been installed in Kodagu also.
The signal boards are put up after researching about the traditional elephant routes from the ground forest staff and the local community. These are placed at strategic locations where elephants move frequently, including small land patches and coffee estates.
Feedback from the commuters is being collected to find out the effectiveness of these signal boards. Based on the success of these units, A. Rocha India is looking forward to scale-up the initiative.