By Anupama Vimal
With man-animal conflicts on a rise in Wayanad, the Kerala Forest Department is envisaging an elephant sanctuary in Chinnakanal- Anayirankal region near Munnar as part of providing shelter to the wild elephants.
It would be the first elephant sanctuary in the state.
The Chief Wildlife Warden of the state is reported to have called for a report from the Divisional Forest officer, Munnar on setting up the elephant sanctuary in the region. It is known that the CWW has also asked to come up with a detailed report on the increasing presence of elephants in the region that has caused certain hardships to the people.
The Chinnakanal- Anayirankal area is known for frequent man-animal conflicts.
Sources said that the proposed sanctuary exclusively for elephants would be set up in a six square kilometre area that covers Chinnakanal- Anayirankal regions and certain tribal colonies. The 386 hectares of land now in possession of Hindustan Newsprint Ltd in Anayirankal along with the 300 hectares of forest land would enclose the sanctuary, they said.
The sources said that once the sanctuary comes up, it would provide a natural habitat for the tuskers and also help their free movement. Moreover, direct conflict with humans could also be avoided, they added.
As of now, the 301 colony, 80 acre area and Sinakukandam settlements in the region were a hindrance to the elephants. These human settlements were established in 2002-2003 and these have blocked the elephant paths. As such some elephants are now stranded in the Anayirankal dam catchment region. These isolated elephants always posed a threat to the human settlements and as many as 30 people have been killed by the tuskers in the region in the last ten years.