Aim of this presentation is to assess the man elephant
conflict in this wildlife sanctuary and its impact on the heath
status of the elephant population in Wayanad Wildlife
There are about 61 human settlement enclosures within
the sanctuary. They are spread mostly in the buffer zones
as well as in the core zone. There are three types of
households identified, residing within the enclosure. They
are customary right holders, forest leaseholders, and
revenue pattayam (land right) holders with a population of
12,000. They occupy approximately 1227 hectares of land
within the sanctuary. Most of them are residing near water
sources. Primary agriculture is paddy, coconut, coffee, and
pepper. During dry season water holes become scarce in
the deep forest. Elephants come to human settlement
areas where there is water. Also, crops grown around
these areas become an added attraction resulting in crop
Currently cash crops fetch poor price. Hence there is a
shift in the cultivation pattern by the farmers to banana,
which really lure elephants to raid. Apart from this, these
human settlers raise approximately 5000 cattle.
Semi-intensive farming is practised within the sanctuary.
Most of the cattle are nondescript with low productivity and
the primary income is from the sales of dung as manure.
Milk production is very low and the surplus animals are
sold outside the sanctuary for meat. Milk is neither
collected from the settlements nor distributed outside the
sanctuary in an organised way. During daytime, cattle
graze in the buffer as well as the core area, competing for
the biomass with the larger herbivores like elephant.
These animals can be a potent source of disease to the
wildlife and vice-versa. The use of pesticides, herbicides
and fertilisers used in agriculture pollute the water source
and pose a potential threat to the health of elephants.
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