HEC- The LRS Update

Current situation

We are continuing to work with our 4 existing sites and record data on how the LRS is performing. In preparation for a pulling together white paper on the LRS, we will also be identifying control sites which are  similar to the existing locations. The control sites will act as a baseline to determine the efficacy of the LRS solution. Unfortunately due to the prevailing condition in the country, we have been unable to travel to these locations to kick start  our work.

The next phase of the LRS

Jehan CanagaRetna presented the LRS proposal at the National Symposium on Human Elephant Conflict in March 2021 organized by the Center of Environmental Justice (CEJ). A number of experts provided positive feedback on the LRS and Dr Pruthuviraj Fernando wanted to run a couple of different scenarios in order to scientifically prove that the LRS does mitigate and repel elephants entering a particular area. The different scenarios include the LRS being used in conjunction with his agricultural fencing initiative and at some sites to trigger the LRS with a sensor when elephants are present within the range of the sensor. The purpose of these two approaches was to identify if the elephants get habituated to the LRS as it then means the LRS will become less effective. 

We will be purchasing Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) triggered lights to test that will trigger the LRS at two or three of our locations.

Expanding the sites

We plan on extending the study to another 21 locations around Anuradhapura, Galgamuwa, Ampara, Mattala, Sigiriya and Monaragala in the coming months. We want to monitor 25 locations in total and hope to complete all the installations by October 2021. However, these plans have been further delayed due to travel restrictions and lockdowns that we are currently going through. We are working on getting corporate sponsors on board to fund this work. 

The work of Dr Tempe Adams

We have also connected with Dr Tempe Adams from Elephant Without Borders (https://elephantswithoutborders.org/) who works in Botswana. Dr. Adams who is Australian from the University of New South Wales is a Research Coordinator with Elephant Without Borders is currently testing a similar system to the LRS to mitigate HEC near Chobe National Park in Botswana. Encouragingly, the results she seen so far are aligned with what we have found as well. However she did mention that she has had to change a number of variables periodically to avoid the elephants from being habituated. Something we too had in our plans for future phases of the LRS.