5 October 2006

Solar fencing

Over the past several years many farmers have made complaints of extensive damage caused by wild boars in the Radhapuram reserve forest area and demanded Government action to protect their lands from the boars. The wild boars are thought to be damaging crops such as groundnut (peanut), sugarcane and root vegetables in the forests around Tiruvannamalai.

In response to demands of fencing or trenches to control the movement of the boars around the village of Keel Vanakkambadi near Tiruvannamalai, the Forest Department has initially erected 2km of solar fencing (that means a solar powered electric fence) at a cost of Rs.320,000/- in the Radhapuram reserve forest area.

A representative from the District Forest Office said that the low voltage power passing through the fence would be a deterrent to wild animals, however he assured the community that the current was not of sufficient voltage to pose a threat to people. It is expected that more solar fences will be added in the area.

As far as the above goes my sympathy is not completely with the farmers. I too experience problems with some of the local farmers because of my four dogs (picture above). The culture of 'no fences' has come about probably because of the expense of erecting separating barriers or walls between fields. In the same way I imagine the farmers of the above have open boundary farms; so my suggestion is take responsibility and if you don't want boars on your farm; build your own fence!

Rapid urbanisation has made local farmers aware of the increased value of their land, so if they are proposing to charge land robber prices when they eventually sell their land as building sites a year down the road, then don't bleat 'this is agricultural land' now and expect a whole lot of sympathy.

One would expect farmers to have a better understanding of ecology and the natural order of things. In this respect the wild boar plays a very vital role in the ecosystem. It prefers areas with thick vegetation and is found in reed beds as well as scrub and forest areas. As we extend the scope of our cultivation we also invade the natural habitat of many species.

Our own actions are forcing wild boars and other creatures to get close to human habitats because their own environment is being appropriated by us. Instead of just putting up an electric fence (albeit solar powered!) perhaps this is the time for local communitites to examine their own place in the ecosystem!


Divyakka said...

You gave a very intelligent, well thought-out and thought provoking view. Boars are not coming newly on the land - people are enroaching on their territory! And by the way, what a warm and fuzzy feeling I get looking at your healthy, happy and loving kids, all together as a family! How very lucky they all are!

Arunachala Living said...

Yes, but the same thing is happening all over the world - man is using 'shock and awe' tactics wherever he goes.

I was reading about a lady in the U.K. riding her horse in some forest land and she was chased and attacked by a wild pig.

Immediately a furore to capture all anti-social pigs and cull them (i.e. KILL them). My point is the lady is riding an animal - thus making it subservient. She has probably just tucked into a nice meaty lunch and now while she is riding on her slave horse she is disturbed by another animal in its own territory. So lets just eradicate wild pests altogether.

If we are not eating them or making slaves of them - lets just kill them all off! Like Australia wanting to elimate sharks in certain coastal areas - so people can have a 'safe' dip in the ocean!

Maybe it would just be best for man to go!

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