Kolkata: In a bid to reduce man-elephant conflict and rehabilitate jumbos driven away from the herd, the West Bengal government is planning to set up two `Elephant Rescue Centres` on a pilot basis.
"Instances of elephants straying away from the forests have been on the rise, resulting in man-elephant conflicts in the state. The stray elephants often destroy crops or kill humans or are killed in the process," said West Bengal Forest Minister Hiten Barman.
"In order to rehabilitate the stray jumbos, we plan to set up two rescue centres of 100 acre each in north and south Bengal. Currently, a survey is on to locate the proper locations of the centres and a report of the same is expected by the end of this month," Barman added.
Once the survey is completed, the report will then be sent to the union forest ministry for its approval, informed the minister.
While two persons were trampled to death by elephants in a West Midnapore village early this month, a herd of elephants destroyed crops in Hooghly Monday.
Meanwhile, the Alipore Zoological Gardens, one of the oldest zoos in India, has witnessed the death of 18 different animals in the last eight months.
As per a report by the state zoo authority, 18 animals including two red kangaroos brought from the Czech Republic last year have died between June 2011 and February 2012 at the zoo.
Most of the deaths have been due to natural causes while two of the animals died because of infighting.
The issue of the animal deaths at the Alipore Zoo was also raised in the West Bengal assembly last week with the members alleging that the guidelines under the Bio diversity Act were not being adhered to by the zoo authorities.