Human-animal conflict: Kerala govt mulls breeding of elephant-repelling bees

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Thiruvananthapuram: Amid the rise in wild elephant attacks in human settlements across Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced the government’s plans to breed special bees that repel the jumbos. Addressing the media here on Thursday the CM said that due to the increase in temperatures, wild animals are foraying into human habitats in search of food and water, leading to attacks on people and the destruction of crops. 

He said that guidelines were recently issued to prevent human-wildlife conflict and a high-level meeting was held today to review steps taken by the government so far. The measures taken include breeding a special type of bee that repels elephants, ensuring adequate water for animals in the forest areas prone to human-wildlife conflict, setting up a 24-hour state-level control room at the forest department headquarters and starting emergency operation centres in 36 forest divisions, he said. 

“There is one potential problem with the elephant-repelling bees as they are said to attract bears. Therefore, they will have to be bred where there is no bear population,” the CM said at the press conference here. 

“Other measures taken by the government are forming Whatsapp groups to alert people in vulnerable areas, deploying 900 watchers, as required, in areas known for human-wildlife conflict and removing undergrowth from 66 plantations in Wayanad district of the state,” he said. 

Besides these, steps have also been taken for the procurement of 64 pump action guns, two tranquiliser guns and four drones. Efforts are also on to strengthen public awareness committees at the panchayat level. 

“ The government allotted Rs 13.70 crore for giving compensation to the victims of wildlife attacks. Rs 6.45 crore has been disbursed so far and distribution of the remaining Rs 7.26 crore is in progress. The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) has also prepared a draft proposal of Rs 110 crore for mitigation of human-wildlife conflict. This is in addition to the Rs 100 crore already sanctioned by the KIIFB for the same purpose. There is also a proposal for setting up a committee comprising international and national experts to submit long-term and short-term plans to mitigate animal attacks,” Pinarayi Vijayan said. 

(With PTI inputs)

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