Monday, Feb 17, 2003
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By V.S. Palaniappan
Waterholes or troughs would be provided in their identified habitats, T. Sekar, Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore circle, told the The Hindu. The spots would be either close to migratory paths or along the fringe areas of forests, which witnessed straying by the animals. Continuous dry spells in the jungles had led to acute water scarcity in most of the wildlife habitats, he pointed out.
The trough at Mangarai in the Thadagam area was filled with piped supply from the Mangarai Forest Rest House, while the one at Anaikatti, along the migratory route of the elephants, was filled with the help of a Horticulture department nursery. These troughs were serving the needs of elephants, deer and bisons.
Similarly, the Forest department installed a massive iron pot, which could hold a substantial quantum of water, to feed elephants near the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History in the Periyanaickenpalayam range. It was being filled with the help of a nearby brick kiln through pipelines. Earlier, pachyderms used to stray into the brick kiln in search of water and leave behind a trail of destruction.
In the Navakkarai section along the Walayar forest area, the department, with the help of a cement company, was constructing two concrete troughs at the Sengalipallam checkpost and Walayar mines. These could be filled up through tanker lorries. A percolation pond in the Mettuppalayam range was being filled by a theme park, located just behind, through pipelines. Two other troughs in the Mettuppalayam forest depot were filled through pipelines by the Forest department itself.
In the Pooluvampatti range (which was witnessing frequent man-animal conflicts), five semi-perennial resources such as checkdams had been identified; water was already being stored in two of them.
Special duty staff members, in three teams, were perambulating the reserve forest boundary to keep the elephants within the forests at Thondamuthur and Narasipuram.
A herd of trained elephants, "Kumkis", and tribal watchers from Top Slip were kept ready to help whenever a man-animal conflict was reported.
The department requested villagers to change their cropping pattern to prevent straying by elephants.
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