A solar powered device is helping to protect crops from animal damage in India – and in turn, to protect the animals from angry humans.
The Times of India reports a trial being carried out on ten farms in the district of Gondia of an acoustic dispersal device appears to going well.
In the trial, the Harmony 3 acoustic device plays recorded roars of tigers and leopards, which scares off animals such as the Nilgai – Asia’s largest antelope (pictured).
While the antelope is protected, there have been a number of incidents where farmers have killed the creatures due the damage done to their crops.
The Times says the Gondia division has also paid compensation to farmers in 3,267 cases in the last three years for crop damage.
“Gondia is one of the worst hit districts due to animal conflict. Yet, I strongly feel that killing herbivores is not a solution,” Gondia Congress MLA Gopal Agrawal. “Harmony 3 device should be supplied to farmers on subsidy. I will seek funds under Gondia DPDC.”
The Harmony 3, which was originally intended for us at airports, is manufactured by India’s Via Life Sciences.
The device can disperse 56 species of birds and six species of other animals. It’s programmed to play the distress calls of problematic animals as well as their predators. In the Gondia trials, the sounds were so lifelike that even some local villagers thought they were real.
Via Life Sciences says most of the acoustic dispersal equipment available in India has an effectiveness up to 20%, whereas Harmony achieves an 83% median score in IQR testing.
It seems getting the call just right is quite an art. The company’s scientists have spent anywhere up to 17 weeks identifying the pattern, dialects, super-imposition and frequency of target species in order to re-construct the calls. A minimum of six months is then spent in field testing the patterns.
Cheaper than solar powered electric fencing, the device covers an area of 700 metres. Advanced circuitry means target species can still hear the recordings against noisy backgrounds, such as airports.
Harmony has been field tested for use by Airports Authority of India (AAI) at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and is also used by India’s Air Force.
Nilgai image credit : Thomas Schoch