Govt to set up 'elephant corridor'

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Chennai, Apr 9 (UNI) Alarmed over the increase in incidents of wild elephants straying into human habitats in search of food and water, the Tamil Nadu government would set up 'elephant corridors in various parts of the state.

Responding to supplementaries raised by Mr T Ramachandran (Independent) on whether the government would take steps to set up a separate elephant sanctuary at Pettamugilalam forest area, Forests Minsiter N Selvaraj said setting up of elephant corridors would ensure a pucca transit route for elephants and prevent them from straying into human habitats.

He said more than one sixth (4,000) of the 24,000-odd India's elephant population was present in the state and the government had decided to take steps for setting up the elephant corridors.

''About 315 acres of land was being acquired and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had allotted Rs 2.68 crore for this purpose,'' he said.

The main objective of the elephant corridors was to ensure that there were no encroachments on the transit route of elephants, he added.

''The elephants move in herds and on a particular pattern. If this is disturbed (by way of encroachments or other man-made detours) they stray into unknown zones and end up entering the human habitats,'' Mr Selvaraj said.

He also announced that solar fencing was also being installed in areas prone to elephant attacks in the state. Huge pits were also being dug up as the 'wise elephants' destroy the solar fence by putting dry tree branches.

He also ruled out erecting concrete walls in such areas as it would not be cost effective. Moreover, it has to be erected to a distance of about 5,000 to 10,000 km area in the State, which was not feasible.

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