20200701 elephant
An Indian elephant. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: AP

Bijnor: Elephants are known to be among the most intelligent animals, and in Uttar Pradesh they have demonstrated it.

According to forest officials, elephants from the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand are crossing over to Bijnor and adjoining villages by intelligently destroying a 5 km-stretch of electric fence put up to keep them in the reserve.

Anil Kumar Patel, Bijnor, divisional forest officer, said, “The electric fence earlier prevented elephants from crossing over to villages on this side of the border, but the pachyderms have now devised a way to ‘dismantle’ the electric fences.”

He said the elephants first break branches of trees and throw them at the fence till the fence is broken. Then they cross over to the other side to enjoy sugarcane and other crops which brings them in direct conflict with humans.

Patel said that the villagers had informed them about how the elephants are destroying the fences with tree branches.

“Fencing, therefore, is no longer an option with these smart animals now. We will seek funds to erect a strong wall,” he said.

In 2000, when Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, a 10 km-long, seven-foot high and two-foot-wide wall was constructed by the Uttarakhand government to separate farms from the Corbett forest area.

This wall covered a substantial patch of ground from Kalagarh in Corbett to Amangarh.

Then the Uttar Pradesh government constructed a wall that went on for another 2 km, but lack of maintenance over the years, resulted in the wall crumbling, leaving gaps that led to wild animals sneaking in and destroying crops.