HC directs govts to form Elephant Task Force

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the state and the Union governments to set up a task force to mitigate man- elephant conflicts.

Taking cognisance of increasing
number of elephant deaths, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday
directed the state and the Union governments to constitute a
task force within 10 days to work towards mitigating man-
elephant conflicts.

Hearing a suo motu petition over the issue, the division
bench of Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V
Nagarathna directed the governments to constitute the force,
comprising experts from various fields, including the forest,
environment and also scientists and to specify short-term and
long-term steps to prevent elephant deaths.

While hearing this petition in November last, the court
had said permission for translocation cannot be granted unless
experts` opinion is got. It also directed the Centre to seek
advice of conservation experts of Africa or any other country.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife
Warden B K Singh had then stated the main reason for man-
animal conflict in the state was `island fencing` of coffee
estates in Kodagu, loss of forest area and indiscriminate eco-
tourism.

He had said that thick growth of weeds like parthenium,
lantana and eupatorium in wildlife sanctuaries and national
parks in Karnataka created food scarcity for pachyderms in
forests.

He had also referred to mushrooming resorts and farms
on the Kaniyanpura Elephant Corridor and sought directions to
remove fences around large private farms for uninterrupted
elephant movement.

"Our exercise to translocate two jumbos have failed. We
will now translocate families of five at a time," he said.
However, Chief Justice Sen said, "You said that a resort
has come up at Bandipur on the corridors. Have you recommended
for removal of the resort or the elephants? You should be
protecting the animals not people."

PTI

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