In an attempt to check the movement of wild animals into residential areas near Ganga river in Haridwar district, the Uttarakhand forest department is now using solar enabled repeller systems.

These solar repellers have motion sensor system which creates a high pitch sound when activated, startling wild animals enough to send them back towards the forest. During night time, the repeller instrument also throws a sharp light towards approaching wild animals, affecting their vision.

Neeraj Sharma, divisional forest officer (DFO), Haridwar, said initial results of the repellers are encouraging. “These repellers are also being installed at other wild animal intrusion prone stretches in the district. Of the proposed 18, we have already set up 10 repellers on the points commonly used by wild animals to move towards residential areas,” he said.

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“The initial phase of installation is being done from Matri Sadan ashram till Bishanpur Kundi and further, it will be carried on till Laksar,” said Dinesh Naudiyal, Ranger Haridwar forest division.

Gurukul Kangri University assistant professor environmental science Dr Gagan Matta pointed out that a cost-effective solar repeller instrument is based on the traditional methods of creating sound and light to shoo animals away.

Farmers have welcomed the decision.“We want these repeller instruments installed at more places as wild animals, elephants in particular, ravage our agricultural crops of sugarcane every season,” said Jagjeetpur village farmer Ballam Saini,

A delegation of affected farmers of Pathri area had also submitted a memorandum to the forest officials demanding construction of a safety wall as well as installation of repellers.

Wild animals have regularly moved towards human habitation in Haridwar district. In July, an elephant entered a residential area just 1.5 km from Har-Ki-Pauri in Haridwar and created ruckus, damaging boundary walls and vehicles parked outside the houses. Earlier in April, an elephant was spotted at Har-Ki-Pauri.

There are 2,026 elephants in the state, according to the elephant census released by the state forest department in June this year. In 2012, there were 1,559 elephants while in 2017 there were 1,839 elephants in the state.