The failure to control the reproduction of the species also leads to a population that exceeds the carrying capacity of the reserve and to habitat degradation.

Ministry wants contraceptives for Karnataka elephants to control man-animal conflictImage: Asian elephants, tontantravel/ Flickr
news Man- Animal Conflict Monday, August 08, 2016 - 09:35

‚ÄčThe Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change plans to experiment with birth control vaccine on elephants to check man-animal conflict.

According to The Times of India report, immunecontraception is a successful South African birth control technique to control the growing elephant population in the state.

The officials will be visiting Karnataka between August 4 and 22.

Karnataka Elephant Census conducted in 2012, shows that the state is home to over 6000 elephants.

"We had recently submitted a proposal to the Karnataka government, seeking funds to take up the experiment, and it has been approved. We will first use the contraceptive technique called immuno-contraception on called immuno-contraception on captive female elephants, before using it on elephants in the wild,'' said Manoj Kumar, chief conservator of forests, Kodagu.

Kumar says that the contraceptive vaccine triggers an immune system response to block sperm reception.

Methods like digging elephant trenches, solar-powered electric fences and relocation of crop raiders have hardly worked. While there have been many fatal attacks on the endangered species, crop damage continues to run in thousands in Karnataka.  

According to the MoEF over 72% of elephants' migratory routes fall outside the protected area network, leading to conflicts with farmers. This is also because of the increasing urbanization that is causing a decrease in forest cover.

Besides crop damage the state sees at least 50-75 deaths due to elephant trampling accidents.

"The failure to control the reproduction of the species also leads to a population that exceeds the carrying capacity of the reserve and to habitat degradation. The solution to control the population of the elephant is not easy to arrive at as it is a schedule-1 animal and protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. So birth control is the last available option," say forest officials.

However, KM Chinnappa of Wildlife First feels the birth control technique should be restricted to captive elephants.

Chinnappa, who was also the warden at Nagarahole National Park, said "As the corridors there are encroached by roads and concrete jungles, elephants don't have a chance to remedy their overpopulation naturally, as they would through migration.‚ÄĚ 

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