Chennai, June 5: Taking suo motu cognisance of the tragic death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala recently, the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday formed a joint committee to evolve a long-term management plan to curb human-elephant conflict.
The action was taken based on a news article published in The New Indian Express titled “Kerala elephant tragedy: Another jumbo suspected to have been killed in similar fashion”.
The pregnant wild elephant in the Silent Valley forest of Palakkad district had died on May 27 after it consumed a pineapple filled with powerful crackers. The incident has created a nation-wide outrage. A similar incident has come to light in Kerala’s Kollam district where a young female elephant died of injuries in her mouth a month ago.
In its order, the green tribunal felt that its intervention was needed to provide a long-term strategy to minimise man-animal conflict in protected areas and fringe villages adjoining forests.
“To ascertain the real state of affairs and also the steps to be taken to protect the wildlife and minimise the man-animal conflict in future, we feel it appropriate to appoint a joint committee comprising a senior officer not below the rank of Chief Conservator of Forest deputed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife, Chief Wildlife Warden, Kerala; a senior officer from Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (southern zone); Wildlife Warden of Silent Valley Division and Divisional Forest Officers of Mannarkkad (Palakkad) and Punalur (Kollam) and the Palakkad collector to go into the question and submit an action-taken report including the long term management plan to avoid such recurrences,” the order said.
The bench also asked the authorities concerned to submit their statement/report showing the progress of action taken.