Now a device to rein in violent elephants


Thiruvananthapuram : Concerned about the increasing incidents of captive elephants turning violent in Kerala, Mumbai-based Zachariah Mathew has developed a new device to rein in animals that run amok.

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“I was deeply disturbed when I heard that an elephant turned violent and trampled three people to death at a temple festival in Thrissur earlier this month. In a matter of few days, I designed a nylon belt fitted with a remote controlled device that could lock the legs of the elephant by the press of a button,” Mathew, managing director of Mumbai-based Senzo Engineering, told reporters here Saturday.

Mathew, who has had formal education only till Class 6, has developed close to 250 products, which include six patented ones.

These include a hydraulic-hinged mast, crash barrier and a hydraulic car parking system.

Mathew said the new control gear was a simple device placed at two sides of the elephant, with one of its legs connected to a belt.

“To lock the elephant’s legs, the mahout, standing as far as 75 feet away, can press the remote and the belt will tighten around its legs. It then cannot move from the place. I tried this on a crane and it worked, and I am now speaking to state forest officials to try it on elephants,” Mathew explained.

State Forest Veterinary Officer E.K. Easwaran told IANS that Mathew had spoken to him and he would help him conduct a trial on an elephant.

“There is a camp for elephants in Thiruvananthapuram Monday and arrangements can be made for Mathew. And if that does not materialize, I will arrange elephants from the Konni Forest Division,” Easwaran said.

The device will cost around Rs.25,000, said Mathew.

In 2007, over 60 people in Kerala were reportedly attacked by elephants who turned violent.