Mangaluru: Elephant corridor sacrificed for Western Ghats development

Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (MS)

Mangaluru, Jun 24: Environmentalists are raising alarms as the elephant corridor in the Western Ghats is being sacrificed for national highway development and hydroelectric projects. These projects are disrupting the natural habitats and migration paths of elephants, forcing them to stray into residential areas near forests.

In recent years, elephant attacks on farmlands have surged significantly. This is seen as a direct consequence of ongoing development projects in forested areas. In the past two years alone, three people have died due to elephant attacks, and numerous farmers have suffered crop losses from frequent raids by elephant herds.

The four-lane highway construction from B.C. Road to Gundya on NH 75, connecting Mangaluru and Bengaluru, is progressing rapidly. Concurrently, the Shiradi Ghat area is being transformed by extensive hydroelectric projects. These developments have effectively obliterated the traditional corridors elephants used to traverse between forests.

Retaining walls have been constructed at over 15 locations, including Kodyakallu near Shiradi, Pararotti near Udane, and near Nelyadka of Rekya, Lavathadka, and Periyashanti. These walls hinder the elephants' free movement, preventing them from crossing or jumping over and forcing them to change their paths, leading them into human-inhabited areas.

The rivulets of Gundya Hole and Kempu Hole, which flow near the highway and are water-rich year-round, were traditionally crossed by elephants moving between forests. However, hydroelectric power projects have disrupted these natural routes, making the elephant corridor almost invisible.

Initially, there were only a couple of hydroelectric projects in the region, but now there are eight. The construction of dams for these projects causes water to accumulate, covering nearly one kilometre. The presence of electric company gates and 24/7 burning lights further disturbs the elephants, making them hesitant to cross the rivulets even during the summer. Lacking alternative routes, the elephants are increasingly entering populated areas in search of food.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has constructed three to four artificial elephant corridors, where the highway is elevated like a flyover. However, these structures are difficult for elephants to navigate. Additionally, it will take many years for elephants to adapt to these new routes, as they do not easily find alternatives. Until then, people living on the forest's edge will continue to suffer from repeated elephant incursions.





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Comment on this article

  • griffith, kulai

    Mon, Jun 24 2024

    Seems like preparations to start mining or for any other natural resource....govt is making dallali work so that private company is benefitted..

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joanna Manning, Canada

    Mon, Jun 24 2024

    Will people and animals ever learn to respect each others needs and live together? I have been to India several times, love the country and culture and marveled at elephants living in sanctuaries and at the palace in Mysore. Through World Wildlife and World Animal Protection I have made donations to help the gentle and intelligent animals. Yes, I realize progress is usually a necessary part of life, but such infrastructures as these will mean hardship, loss of livelihood, even death. So they should be developed and constructed with great care and respect for all that live nearby and for the future of people and the animals for which we have stewardship.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anand, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 24 2024

    Its better we maintain the balance between infra development and environment. Otherwise soon developed cities will become ghost towns! abandoned. Most of the cities are facing unbearable heat during the summer and unpredictable weather!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Beowulf, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 24 2024

    We need to halt all development so that Elrphants can roam freely.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ashok, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 24 2024

    We need good roads water electricity there must be some balance. We are objecting for each and every thing

    DisAgree [2] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Mon, Jun 24 2024

    There is only one lady in Daiji Forum who loves & very much concerned about Elephants wellbeing.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

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