What is hanging solar fence installed by Odisha govt to protect elephants?
The Odisha government has come up with concrete measures to prevent elephant deaths after being run over by trains. The state forest department has now opted for the installation of hanging solar fencing along railway tracks passing through elephant corridors to deter wild pachyderms from venturing near railway lines and highways.
The move came after the tragic deaths of a female elephant and two elephant calves after being run over by a train at Joda In Keonjhar on May 19, 2022. The incident happened when a 22-member elephant herd was crossing the railway track.
In a first in the State, Keonjhar DFO Dhanraj Hanuman and Joda Block chairman inaugurated the 750-meter-long hanging solar fence over the railway track between Krech hutting and Behera hutting in the Joda area.
“Hanging Solar fencing- a pilot project to prevent elephants entering on railway track and on busy national highway between Behera and Crech hutting, Joda,” tweeted the Keonjhar DFO.
The 10,000-volt hanging solar fencing will help keep away elephants and other animals from venturing across the railway tracks in the region. However, the shock from the fence is not fatal.
“It is not just solar but hanging solar fence. This has been installed in Odisha for the first time. There will be three milli-second pulses and no current in the wires. Once the elephants come in contact with the fence, elephants will receive a shock and won’t try to cross the rail track after one or two attempts. This will reduce accidents to a great extent,” hoped Keonjhar DFO Dhanraj Hanuman.
Joda Block Chairman said, "In several elephant movement zones, the forest department has created trenches near rail tracks to prevent jumbos from venturing on the railway lines. But, it has not yielded much fruitful results and elephants often cross the trenches due to which mishaps occur. Therefore, the forest department has installed solar fencing which will prevent deaths of elephants and also ensure the safety of humans."