MUMBAI: An Indian inventor has created a device to stop rampaging elephants in their tracks, amid concern about human injuries and deaths when they run amok, his company said today.
Zachariah Mathew’s Violent Elephant Control Gear has been designed to provide a humane alternative to sedating the animals, which are often used in religious festivals and are revered in Hinduism.
“During these festivals sometimes the animal is not well and might not be feeling comfortable but he can’t express his feelings to you, so he will react,” said James George, from Mathew’s firm Senzo Engineering, in Mumbai.
“People close by fire sedative shots. They don’t want to kill the animal but just bring it under control. Due to panic and fear, instead of one or two shots, they fire three, four, five, six and the animal gets an overdose.” Mathew’s device involves attaching a fibreglass box weighing six to eight kilogrammes to one of the elephant’s back legs. At the first sign of the animal turning violent, the mahout or elephant driver can activate the battery-operated device by remote control, sending a nylon belt contained inside to wrap around the tusker’s other hind leg.