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UP Forest Department To Employ Technology To Limit Human-Wildlife Conflict

 The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department has announced the usage of precautionary devices in villages near forest buffer zones to keep wild animals from entering human settlements.

ANIDERS (active-passive infrared system based animal intrusion prevention system)
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 The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department will install light and sound-emitting devices in villages adjoining the Dudhwa-Katarniaghat forest buffer zone to prevent wild animals from entering human habitats.

The Animal Intrusion Detection and Repellent (ANIDER) devices will be installed in 25 villages in Bahraich and Lakhimpur Kheri districts as a pilot project, officials said. They will be installed on roads through which animals pass to move towards villages, they said. Dudhwa Tiger Reserve Field Director Sanjay Kumar Pathak told PTI that to prevent negative human-wildlife interface, fences were set up along the roads between forests and villages.

However, fencing was neither a permanent solution nor could it prevent large animals like elephants, tigers, and leopards from moving out of the forests. Hence, it was decided to install ANIDER devices, he said. The ANIDER device produces nine types of lights and 32 types of sounds. It is fitted with a sensor that can detect wild animals as soon as they reach within its 100-meter radius. The device then automatically starts emitting light and sound, causing the animals to retreat, Pathak said.

To ensure that the animals do not get used to these sounds, they keep changing automatically. He added that the device is powered by solar energy and is equipped with sound and light amplifiers. As part of a pilot project, these devices are being installed by the Forest Department along the borders of villages adjoining the Dudhwa-Katarniaghat forest buffer zone, Pathak said.

In the first phase, 25 sensitive villages in Bahraich and Lakhimpur Kheri districts including Khairtia, Majra, Purab, Mangaudia, Semrighathi, Jhala, Pakdiya Diwan, Chandanpur, Nausar Gumtiha, and Madhwapur have been selected. "These devices are being set up at places in the middle of forests and villages through which elephants, tigers, leopards, and other wild animals move towards the population. The price of one ANIDER device is about Rs 24,000 and farmers can install them on their own," Pathak said.

A private company, Kayari, conducted research on the issue of animal intrusion in residential areas. After five years of intensive research and testing, ANIDER devices were first used in Kerala and Uttarakhand where cases of human-wildlife conflict were witnessed, he said. According to the available reports, the device showed 86 percent effectiveness and crop yield increased by 60 percent as damage caused by animals was reduced, he said.

According to Pathak, 25 people were killed and over two dozen injured in attacks by wild animals in the Dudhwa-Katarniaghat forest and its periphery in the last five years. During the same period, four leopards were killed in attacks by angry villagers, the officer said.

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