Recently, the Odisha government has sought four Kumki elephants and their mahouts from Tamil Nadu.

About Kumki:

  • Kumki or Koomkie used in India for trained captive Asian elephants used in operations to trap wild elephants, rescue injured elephants, or offer medical treatment.
  • They can be deployed strategically to help manage and drive wild elephants, thereby reducing damage to crops, human habitation, and the potential loss of both human and elephant lives.
  • The training procedure seeks to retain some of the wild dominant characteristics in them, allowing them to manage wild elephants by force if necessary.
  • When wild elephants invade human settlements and kumkis are used to drive them away, direct physical contact may not be required because territorial behavior is facilitated by scent and other forms of animal communication.
  • Tamil Nadu has successfully trained and utilized Kumki elephants and their mahouts for wildlife conservation efforts.

Human elephant conflict: 

  • Habitat loss and fragmentation lead to conflict between elephants and humans. When elephants and humans interact, conflict arises from crop raiding, elephant-caused injuries and fatalities, and elephants murdered by humans for causes other than ivory and habitat damage.
  • Elephants cause damage ranging from thousands to millions of dollars. Every year, 100 people and 40-50 elephants are murdered during crop raids in India.
  • In Odisha, there were 230 contacts between humans and elephants in the fiscal year 2023-2024. 

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