Tuesday, June 24, 2014

EPT Survey at Javalagiri - 14/06/2014

Kenneth Anderson nature Society once again rose to the occasion with the help of enthusiastic volunteers to conduct a survey of the EPT (Elephant Proof Trench) at Javalagiri Range of CNWLS, along with the officers and staff of the Tamil Nadu Forest Dept. The survey was carried out in response to the request KANS got from the District Forest Officer of Hosur Forest Division.

The purpose of the survey was to examine the EPT and document the health (capacity to keep elephants away) of the EPT. This has been necessitated due to the alarming number of elephants venturing out of the forest into patta lands, townships, roads etc. in recent times.

Some facts:
  • Nineteen volunteers from KANS participated in the survey.
  • Eight teams were formed to cover approximately 50+ kms. of EPT.
  • Each team was accompanied by a Forest Guard or a Watcher.
  • Each team covered on an avarage 6-9 kms along the EPT.
What is an EPT?
  • Typically an EPT sits between the forest and Patta Land (agricultural land).
  • EPT is about 4 to 5 Ft. wide by about 6 to 7 ft deep.
  • Meant to prevent Elephants crossing across to the agricultural land from the forest.
  • At places where the trench cannot be dug (due to granite surface), a stone wall is erected. 
Modus operandi of EPT survey

  • Team walks along the EPT.
  • Members examine the EPT for its effectiveness in keeping the elephants on the intended side and not allow it to cross over.
  • If the EPT is found to have been compromised (reasons below), then the team does the following:
    • Take GPS coordinates of the place.
    • Take photos.
    • Write description to indicate what has gone wrong and what could be done.

Reasons for EPT losing its effectiveness
  • EPT losing its steep sides due to erosion.
  • Elephants kicking mud into it deliberately in order to get across.
  • Villagers filling portions of it in order to get their cattle across for grazing.
Participant list
  • Mr. Ulaganathan, DFO - Hosur Forest Division
  • Mr.Anand, ACF - Hosur Forest Division
  • Staff of Hosur Forest Division
  • KANS
    • Prem Kumar Aparanji
    • Rahul
    • Soundaryavalli Madhugiri
    • Brijesh
    • Tarsh Williams
    • Jyotsna
    • Sabari Giri
    • Akshay Devendra
    • Abhinandan Murthy
    • Kiran Nagendra
    • Ram
    • Rochelle
    • Girish
    • Manjunath
    • Sanjeev Kumar SR
    • Prasanna Vynatheya
    • George Tom
    • Jobin
    • Suresh
Misc Notes:
  • Food arrangement was exceptionally good, thanks to the TN Forest Dept.
  • No mosquitoes in the forest IB.
  • Slightly cloudy neither too warm nor cool.
  • Evening at the forest IB was very pleasant with each sharing their wilderness experiences.
DFO Mr. Ulaganathan with the aid of videos explained to the group the problems associated with Elephants straying into human habitations. He also mentioned that there is a large herd of elephants that have gone across from Melagiri crossing NH7 and are holed up in Andhra, and that he would need our help to drive them back to Melagiri. It seems the elephants need to be driven across 50 kms of agricultural land and human habitation and that it would be a tricky affair. Leaving the elephants there would mean death to them ultimately due to food shortage and inbreeding.

Please see the photos here: picasaweb.com/ka.naturesociety/EPTAnalysisJune2014

Prasanna Vynatheya

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