According to a report in National Geographic Network, there are millions of people living alongside the Asian elephants. Though it has been seen that the interactions very peaceful and harmonious, the encounters between the two have been reported deadly sometimes.
Particularly in the Southeastern states of Tamil Nadu, it has been futile. In records between 1994 and 2013, 41 people have lost their lives in encounters with elephants in the region. Today with the use of technology, an early elephant warning system has been implemented to prevent such deadly encounters. This system uses text messages to warn people about the presence any elephants nearby if any.
The system is a mutually beneficial product as it would alert the humans from the danger they are in and elephants can be prevented from any destruction of properties that could draw violent retaliations from the people against it. The report says “In the last 18 months, there have been no reported injuries or deaths from elephants, and Kumar credits the warning system for this.”
In the interview by the National Geographic, M. Ananda Kumar,a scientist with the Nature Conservation Foundation in Valparai, Tamil Nadu explains the technology as “When someone signs up for the text alert we also collect information on where they live, so we can let them know when there are elephants in their area. But it’s not just about one-way communication between us and people. We want to build a network, in which people talk to each other [about where elephants are].
For those with phones that don’t support Tamil, the local language, or have screens too small to read texts, they can listen to a voice message. We are also installing systems in buses that broadcast warnings through speakers when elephants are seen nearby. Many accidents happen when people are walking from the bus stop to their home. And in 28 areas with poor visibility we have set up bright lights that flash when elephants are nearby, in order to warn people.”