Awild elephant was radio-collared for the first time in Assam under an initiative of the Forest Department and the World Wildlife Fund, officials said.
The exercise was taken up in Sonitpur district as wild elephants frequently destroy paddy fields in the area and even kill humans as they move out in search of food with their habitat shrinking, leading to increased human-elephant conflict, they said.
A joint team of officials and doctors has been camping in an area under the Amaribari forest office near Adabari tea garden in Rangapara to carry out the exercise, elephant expert Dr. Kushal Konwar Sharma said.
Initially, a male elephant was tranquilised for the purpose but later the radio collar was fitted on a female elephant on Tuesday evening on an experimental basis. A radio collar is a lightweight belt fixed on an elephant’s neck.
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The device is GPS enabled and the data is relayed real-time on a computer or mobile app. Radio-collars will help in identifying the location of a herd, the exact number of animals in the group, and the route taken by the herd, Dr. Sharma said.
The monitoring of data helps in early warning whenever the elephant is in the vicinity of a human settlement.