Device to warn jumbos

A private company has approached the Bengal forest department with a proposal to introduce a system based on infra sound to avert collision between elephants and trains.

The forest department asked the company to conduct the trial run of the elephant repellent system in Buxa Tiger Reserve at the earliest.

Angshuman Mukherjee and Subroto Mukherjee, two representatives of the company, held talks with chief wildlife warden of Bengal S.B. Mandal, principal chief conservator of forest S.S. Bist and elephant expert Raman Sukumar on Monday and Tuesday.

“The functioning of the elephant repellent system is based on infra sound. Elephants communicate in a low frequency of 6-18 Hz which humans cannot hear. The minimum audible frequency for us to hear is 20 Hz. The device has a sensor that can capture and emit sound which is below 20 Hz,’ said Angshuman.

He said once the device was switched on, it could emit a sound that would alert elephants to approaching trains. “In that way, elephants can steer clear of railway tracks. The device could be placed along those stretches of tracks through which elephants generally move,” said Angshuman.

The discussions between the company and the foresters were held at Rajabhatkhawa in Buxa where six elephants had been run over by trains in two different incidents this year.

The company officials said the forest department had asked them to carry out a demonstration of the system in Buxa as early as possible. “We will place the device on a tree or a tower to show how useful it is in communicating with elephants. It might take up to two weeks to install the system. The system will not disturb the elephants or forest villagers,” said Angshuman.

“We have also proposed a thermal camera that can watch any object on the track from 1km. The camera will be set on a loco engine. As per the information we have received from the railways, a train driver can save elephants from a distance of 800 meters,” said Angshuman.

S.B. Mandal said: “Two persons met me and I have asked them to demonstrate the devise. On the basis of the result, we will take next steps.”


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