Bio-acoustics: Defence against crop-raiding animals

Floods, drought and diseases are some of the threats that plague the agriculture industry. While other threats can be forecasted, invasion by wild animals is a threat that can cause unforeseen and unimaginable loss to farmers.

Poaching and building barriers were the two methods employed to control these animals. However, poaching is illegal and building walls around agriculture plots is expensive. Hence there is a need for a viable and non-invasive solution to keep these animals away from farms.

If you have seen a dog recoiling in fear or a bird darting to shelter on hearing the sound of a cracker, you would have probably realized that mammals and birds are very sensitive to sounds. A research group in India plans to make use of this characteristic trait to deter animals from entering fields. Scientists affiliated to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research have come up with a technique (read the full story here) that considerably reduces invasion by animals. This technique involves playing the distress calls of animals. The wail of an animal is recorded and played at a sound of 90dB. The other animals in the vicinity sense impending danger on hearing the sound and move away from the field.

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Source: The Hindu

Till date the distress calls of 27 different species have been recorded and the sequence in which they are played is changed every few weeks to prevent the animals from getting accustomed to the sounds. It has been observed that there has been a significant dip in the number of animal invasions post the installation of this system.

While the nascent technology is taking off quite well, farmers and researchers admit that the cost of the equipment, approximately Rs. 25,000, is expensive may. “For marginal farmers, they find low cost physical barriers far more affordable than bioacoustics,” said Raju G. Teggali from Kalaburagi Krishi Vigyan Kendra, who is supervising its use in Kalaburagi district.

However, agricultural scientist V. Vasudeva Prof. Rao believes the patenting of the equipment and its consequent mass-manufacture by the Bengaluru-based company Grus Ecosciences will see the prices reduce drastically. “Once the trials are over, state governments will be asked to provide subsidy for this.”

Source: The Hindu.

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