Elephants near Human Settlements

Vishwanath M K

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

When wildlife and humans live in close proximity to one another, the risk of wild animals contracting diseases affecting local livestock pose a grave threat. A systematic and thorough vaccination programme of all domestic animals within a 5 km radius of a Protected Area boundary is a must.

This was photographed in the backwaters of the Kabini River in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Across the river, just outside the reserve (Gendathur side of Bandipur Tiger Reserve), there are a lot of human settlements. Elephant Proof Trenches (EPT) protecting this area do little to stop the herds. Elephants easily swim across from the Nagarahole side to graze on grass on the Bandipur side, bringing them into frequent conflicts with humans. Cattle grazing occurs near the human settlements in the morning, but during late evenings and nights, elephants occupy this area. The presence of cattle near park boundaries puts elephants and other animals at risk of catching infectious diseases.

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