Sunday, June 3, 2012

Solution to Elephant Raids

Farming in Bhutan has always been a challenge for various reasons. The geographical terrain, inaccessibility to mechanized farming tools, unfavourable factors of production (land, labour, capital) and raid from the wild animals are the main reasons that i know of, which deters farmers from their mainstream profession. Of all the raids from the wild animals, the raid from a herd of elephants is the worst of all. They not only destroy a large area of crop-field, but also is a threat to human life. I often hear in the Bhutanese media about reports on elephant attacks in the southern fertile foothills of Bhutan. The recent advent- the solar fencing only proved to be ineffective and expensive like any other methods. Villagers are left at the mercy of these wild beasts which mostly attack their crops at night. Well, that was just a background.

Way forward- My concern for our farmers made me to seek ways and means for this problem. From the little and quick research i carried out on the effective ways of deterring the elephants, I found a few which could prove to be effective with the wild elephants in Bhutan as well.

1. It is to be noted that elephants are afraid of bees and the buzzing of bees makes them go insane. In africa, elephants are known to avoid acacia trees occupied by honey bees. This has led to the invention of the “bee hive fence”— a regular fence strung with beehives made out of hollow logs. If an elephant tries to push through the fence, the hive swings, the bees become agitated, and the elephant flees.

2.The other thing that elephants do not like is the smell and taste of chillies. One of the instant remedies to deter elephants would be to burn the chillies/chilli powder as they approach the field. A proactive solution would be to grow chillies and gingers along with other crops which has also proven as an efficient means of deterring elephants.

In Karnataka, India, people tested by making a chilli-tobacco rope barrier. A jute or a cotton rope was smeared with a mixture of used engine oil, chilli powder and tobacco powder and then the rope was run around the field at a height of around 2 meters. The test was proven to be a success and these methodology was soon adopted in different parts of the state.

For those who read this post, I request you to spread the word-of-mouth to our folks living in villages as it might save their life and fortune from these small but effective measures.

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