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Pilibhit Tiger Reserve to replace solar fencing with chain link fence

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Pilibhit (UP), March 11:  The authorities of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) have officially approved the installation of a nine-feet-high chain-link fence around the forest periphery. This will replace the solar power fencing in PTR.

This sensitive zone is crucial for preventing tigers from straying into surrounding areas.

Initially, the forest authorities had chosen a 6 to 7 feet high solar power fence to deter wild herbivores and carnivores from entering agricultural fields, however, the introduction of chain-link fencing in a 17.5-km stretch as a pilot project in 2019-20 yielded positive results, prompting the forest authorities to extend its use.

According to Naveen Khandelwal, Divisional Forest Officer, PTR, the reserve has initiated the chain-link fencing work in a stretch of 25 km in extremely vulnerable pockets of Mala, Mahof and Barahi forest ranges, with completion targeted by the end of April this year. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 7.75 crore.

Previously, the PTR had put solar fencing over a 50 km stretch due to its cost-effectiveness (Rs 3-4 lakh per km) and the use of high-voltage Direct Current without posing a risk to wildlife and human lives.

However, the maintenance cost was high due to vegetation growth beneath the fence, said Khandelwal.

“Solar fencing wires were frequently damaged by large herbivores and instances of villagers breaking the fencing for illegal entry into forest areas were reported. Villagers also stole solar fencing wires for various agricultural purposes,” he said.

“In contrast, chain-link fencing, supported by a 2-3 feet high brick wall and iron poles is robust and resistant to damage by wild animals, although it costs around Rs 31 lakh per km. The longevity of chain-link fencing makes it a more sustainable option,” Khandelwal stated.

The new chain-link fence, with its considerable height and sturdiness, is expected to effectively prevent wild animals from entering agricultural fields and curb human infiltration into the core forest area, he added.

IANS

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