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Technology to Reduce Economic Losses in Agriculture Due to Wildlife Attacks

Katidhan
Katidhan
Wild Elephant

Wild animals often come into contact with land areas abundant with agriculture crops in search of food. Some of these animals attack those crops while the rest prey on the livestock owned by the farmers and this result in an escalation in human wildlife conflicts. In India, unlike most parts of the world, there is a remarkable tolerance shown by farmers in attacking wildlife but due to the high population figures and loss of lives on both sides, the conflict and loss issues are one of the highest in the world today. 

Some of the media reports show that annually, Rs.4000 Crore crop loss occurs every year due to wildlife attacks across India with a reduction in almost 40% of the farmer's income due to these attacks. However, there has been no adequate compensation provided by the Insurance companies or the relevant forest departments due to the losses faced due to such attacks leading to desperate measures by the farmers in protecting their crops/livestock. 

Wild animals here comprises of the larger bodied ones i.e. Wild boars, Nilgai, Tigers, Leopards, Elephants and Monkeys that constitute for the entire crop and livestock losses that occur in India. Nilgai and Wild boars are responsible for the maximum destruction of agricultural crops on land followed by Monkeys and Elephants while the predators such as Tigers and Leopards are responsible for livestock losses. So to mitigate these losses, we need to identify the ways in which these animals destroy the crops and build our technological solutions around it. 

Damaged Farm Land due to Wild Boar attacks.

How do these animals destroy the crops or livestock? 

Wild boar usually destroys the agricultural crops by crushing or eating the plants. Likewise, these may harm the crops while wallowing and rooting which damages the plant roots and form holes and grooves that harm farm equipment and endanger operations. Wild boar injury is more in fields that are in neighboring vicinity of forests ranges. Nilgai destroys crops by eating less and causing more destruction with their movements in and around the agricultural land. Elephants due to their large body structure do the same while Monkeys are more precarious with their movements. Tigers and Leopards often attack livestock closer to forest areas. Out of all the above, monkeys have been the most challenging to be safeguarded from due to their high intelligence and adaptability rate of any solution in the field. 

The occurrence of crop damage/livestock losses by these animals has risen dramatically in the last decade and a half, implying an increase in social conflicts, expenditures for compensation and a risk to natural ecosystems. Many researchers have explained this phenomenon by considering wild animal behavior, and abundance. Little or no attention has been devoted to wildlife management and the agricultural mosaic.

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Current Protection Methods: 

The farmers have been facing these wild animal attack issues for a very long time and they have employed local means and measures of using methods such as organic smell based powders, animal dump, colored clothes, scarecrows, manual sounds etc to scare the animal away. Except perhaps Wild boars, the people in India are sensitive to the thought of killing or fatally hurting the animal itself as most of them are considered to be sacred. This noble thought yet doesnt necessarily convert into action every time as we see more and more farmers leaning towards using solar powered electric fences or other fences that give a high voltage shock to the animal on contact. Intelligent ones like the Elephants and Monkeys find a way around it while the rest succumb to this sort of a measure. 

So the big question is - How do we use technology to protect the agricultural land from these attacks without causing any harm to the animal? 

The only possibilities that arise out of this are: 

1. Building a technological solution that attacks the olfactory, cognitive and auditory system of wild animals causing a behavioral change in them to avoid the agricultural land areas.

2. Building a technological Early Warning system that predicts and informs the farmers or land owners on animal movement nearby the agriculural land.

3. Building high impact eletrical solutions that cause extensive damage to the animal thereby pushing it away from the agricultural land.

4. Resolving the food availability issue of animals by pushing them to a certain piece of land where food is grown for them thus avoiding their presence nearby the farmers land areas.

While 1 and 2 have a direct impact on the protection of the agricultural land without causing harm to the animal, 3 is more violent in nature having possibilites of grave repurcussions and 4 is a larger systemic change that can be provided by large departments and state governments in particular. 

Our Technological Solutions: 

We discussed, realized and understood the fact that the farmer needs a solution today that would enable him/her to protect their land area autonomously and thus we researched and designed Solar Powered Light and Bio Acoustic solutions that can deter majority of the wild animals away changing their behaviour towards those agricultural land areas. While we work on Early Warning systems that can provide only a notification to farmers, our current systems have been very successful as farmers in more than 10 states across India are using them against wide variety of animals with a successful output. Some of them are IOT enabled as well to provide relevant data points to farmers to understand the animal behavior and protect their land area without causing any harm to the animal. 

Parabraksh 

Parabraksh is one of a kind solar-powered autonomous flashing light system that is conceptualized and made in India. The product is environmentally friendly and it has dual charging mechanism –solar and Micro-USB charging with an indicator LED lights. These programmed flashing patterns attack the cognitive vision of animals such as wild boars, nilgai, elephants, tigers and leopards and have been proven to be very effective against them by deterring them away from agricultural land areas. 

Kapikaat

Kapikaat is a uniquely designed solar powered auutonomous bio acoustic sound system that is again conceptualized and made in India. This product also comes with dual charging mechanism - flexible solar panel and Micro-USB with indicator LED lights. The sensor within it detects the presence of an animal and various bio acoustic sound files are played out. It was primarily built to work against monkeys but now,its being used for tests against wild boars and elephants as well to attack their auditory systems. 

Contact us to know more about these systems through our website: https://katidhan.com 

Some would say that these solutions help in keeping the animal away from one apiece of agricultural land and they could eventually move to another. We dont deny that but there needs to be a start somewhere and the safety mechanism needs to be provided in the hands of the farmer so that the larger organization or the government focuses on a larger systemic change to resolve these conflict issues. Until then, we will build technologies to reduce the conflict issue ensuring the animals are not harmed in the process and the farmer's land areas are protected. 

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