Radio collar use to track elephant movement in Sonitpur district
Due to the ongoing man-elephant conflict in Sonitpur district, the Department of Environment and Forests, in technical collaboration with WWF India
TEZPUR: Due to the ongoing man-elephant conflict in Sonitpur district, the Department of Environment and Forests, in technical collaboration with WWF India, has taken a new innovative measure of using a sophisticated device known as radio collar to tackle the wild jumbos in Assam in order to understand their ranging pattern, habitat usage and overall behaviour.
The Government of India has already accorded permission for collaring five elephants in Sonitpur, Biswanath and Udalguri districts of Assam. During the last three days, several attempts were made in the tea garden complex near Rangapara, Sonitpur to collar suitable elephants and one female elephants (35+) could be collard successfully in Tarajuli tea estate on November 14.
While talking to The Sentinel, Dr Anupam Sharma, team leader of WWF India, said that the radio-collaring is about fitting a collar with an attached radio transmitter around the neck of an animal to track its movement. Radio collar is a lightweight belt fixed on an elephant's neck. The device is fitted with a GPS device and the data is relayed on a computer or mobile app real time. The battery fitted in the tracking collar is expected to last for three to four years. Dr Sharma also said that the forest personnel will first tranquilize one of the jumbos of the herd and then hang the device around its neck. Subsequently, the jumbo will be sent back to the herd. Dr Sharma further said that the radio collar will help in tracking the animal's movement and preventing it from entering human habitations and causing loss of crops and lives.
Collaring operations were conducted under the supervision of veterinary expert Padma Shri Dr K K Sarma from Veterinary College, Guwahati, Dr Parikshit Kakati of WWF India, Dr Samsul Ali of WTI, Kaushik Barua of Assam Elephant Foundation along with N N Kalita, DFO, Sonitpur west division, Pankaj Sharma, DFO, WAWL division and Dr A Kumar, DFO of Assam State Zoo along with his team of animal handlers. Field staff of Sonitpur west forest division also assisted in the operation. Further attempts will be taken up very soon to collar more elephants in the coming months, official sources said.