Assam scientist develops unique device to mitigate human-elephant conflict

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Guwahati, September 24: Seema Lokhandwala, a computer engineer turned conservation scientist from Assam, will be featured on CNN’s “Call to Earth: Listening to Our Planet” this weekend for her efforts to mitigate human-elephant conflicts.

The show “Call to Earth: Listening to Our Planet” will highlight the work of scientists around the world who are using sound to protect the planet.

Seema, who happens to be the founder of the Elephant Acoustics Project, worked on the conservation of the gentle giants with a team of like-minded engineers. Their goal is to promote human-elephant coexistence and mitigate conflict through early warning systems based on elephant acoustics, garnering local support for long-term elephant conservation.

According to reports, Seema’s engineering team is currently developing the “Elephant Call Detector”, a device designed to detect elephant sound, alert local authorities to its presence, and then emit a sound to send the animal in a different direction.

The group of scientists studied the sounds of elephants along the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape for a better understanding of Asian elephant communication.

As Assam has witnessed regular conflicts between humans and elephants, elephants have been victims of poaching, electrocution and poisoning. Elephants often stray into human habitats in search of food, and along the way they damage several homes and farmlands. This results in clashes with humans which, at times, turn deadly.

The CNN program will also have Daniella Teixeira, who shares her research on Australia’s endangered black cockatoos and how she uses sound to collect data on the birds to better understand how to help them. Oceanographer Grant Deane, who studies sound in the ocean and its connection to weather and climate, will also be featured in the program

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