A total of 74 wild elephants were captured and rehabilitated since 2000 in the forest areas of Sakleshpura and Belur taluks of Hassan district of Karnataka, said Minister of State for environment, forest and climate change (MoEF&CC) Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply to Janata Dal (Secular) MP Prajwal Revanna in Lok Sabha Tuesday.

Choubey informed that in order to mitigate the human-elephant conflict in the area, the Karnataka government is constructing a 9.5-km railway barricade and 14-km tentacle solar fence.

Tentacle solar fences are non-lethal fences which give low intensity shock to animals trying to stray into human-populated areas or agricultural lands.

The data also informed that the state government, in addition to the permanent frontline staff, (including Deputy Range Forest Officers-cum-Surveyors, Forest Guards and Forest Watchers), has employed non-permanent watchers which include 84 watchers in Anti-Depredation Camps (ADC) and 20 watchers in Rapid Response Teams (RRT) in the Hassan district.

Since 2019 there have been 14 deaths in human-elephant conflict in the region for which the state government has paid a compensation of Rs 90,75,000. In the same period, there have been 8,382 cases of crop damage due to wild elephant attacks for which the government paid a compensation of Rs 5,03,57,501.

The Karnataka forest department last month directed the Hassan forest division to consult the agriculture department and submit a proposal regarding the commissioning of a multi-disciplinary study to look at possible changes in cropping patterns with an intent to bring down human-elephant conflict in the district.

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