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Testing the efficacy of a chilli-tobacco rope fence as a deterrent against crop-raiding elephants

Chelliah, K and Kannan, G and Kundu, S and Abilash, N and Madhusudan, A and Baskaran, N and Sukumar, R (2010) Testing the efficacy of a chilli-tobacco rope fence as a deterrent against crop-raiding elephants. In: Current Science (Bangalore), 99 (9). pp. 1239-1243.

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Chilli-based repellents have shown promise as deterrents against crop-raiding elephants in Africa. We experimented with ropes coated with chilli-based repellent as a cheap alternative to existing elephant cropraid deterrent methods in India. Three locations (Buxa Tiger Reserve, Wyanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Hosur Forest Division) representing varying rainfall regimes from high to low, and with histories of intense elephant-agriculture conflict, were selected for the experiments that were conducted over 2-3 months during the pre-harvest period of the kharif season in late 2006. Chilli and tobacco powder mixed with waste oil was applied to ropes strung around agricultural fields of 1.4-5.5 km perimeter and elephant approaches were monitored. Elephants breached the rope fences a few times at all three study sites. Female-led herds were far more deterred (practically 100% reduction) than were solitary males (c. 50%) by the chilli-tobacco rope. Efficacy of this method as a deterrent was significantly better in the low-rainfall regime relative to medium and high-rainfall regimes. The initial promising results present a case for more rigorous experimentation; these would help determine if the elephants avoiding the rope are responding physiologically to the chilli-tobacco smell or merely reacting cautiously to a novel substance in their environment.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science (Bangalore)
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Keywords: Chilli-tobacco fence; crop raids; deterrents; efficacy; elephant-human conflict
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2010 10:17
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2012 08:10
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/34465

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