Greens have raised serious concerns about the canon firing that is taking place at the foot of Chamundi Hill to acclimatise the elephants to sound so that they do not panic when it happens during dasara procession. They opine that the loud sound caused during the canon firing practice besides endangering the elephants hearing will spell doom for birds and animal species in surrounding forest.
The authorities recently shifted the venue of canon firing to Police Firing Range at the foot of lush Chamundi Hill after a old temple near Palace came down due to the deafening sound of the canons.
The environmentalists say that the authorities would have though twice before shifting the venue and said that their decision appears to be insensitive. Gross sound pollution that the canon firing causes immense distress to the birds and elephants and it has to be stopped. Citing tradition affecting the lives of birds and animals is not good. Its not only a torture for the standing elephants by scaring them, and also to the nesting birds and other fauna.
According to a study, there are 210 species of birds can be spotted in hill, and all of them are very sensitive for sound. Locally nesting birds like Birds of Prey like Honey Buzzard, crested serpent eagle; Bee eater, lot of ground nesting bird like Red-wattled lapwing, Woodpecker, flycatchers, green bees, Shikra, and much more can be found. This apart, Rusty Spotted Cat, an smallest wild cat in the world; Civet, various species Mammals, mangaru, Jackal, including leopards are also spotted.
As per the scientific sources elephants can tolerate sounds upto 90 decible, while canons produce sound more than 225 decible, which is likely to cause deafness.
'Nobody has worked out the stress level suffered by the elephants and birds. There is need of understanding the psychology of elephants. With Karanaji Lake located quite near to the canon practice region, thousands of brooding and nesting birds in the lake and also Chamundi Hills are affected severely. Especially, in winter season, birds from North India migrate here to lay eggs. The birds might fly back scared,' said an senior naturalist, who didn’t wished to be named.
Daniel Sukumar Das, Managing Trustee of Can Trust, who has done
research on the behavior of elephants said that the booming sound made when a canon is fired will severely affect the elephants.
“Making to do some thing unnatural is cruelty. Humans and Elephants share almost similar psychological feelings Smaller birds suffer heart attack. Coming suddenly to human habitat, facing canon sound, andwalking on hard tar is a torture for the elephants.
The instance of sound will disturb them psychological and they suffer lot of stress. This being done close to Chamundi Hills is one more foolishness. It will affect the lives of the thousands of birds in the region, and the lesser fauna,” he added.
Further citing scientific evidence, he said: “Elephants have a very acute sense of hearing, which is at least ten times more sensitive than what human can hear. They can detect small vibrations coming from the ground and find out the location of other members of their species. There are already instances where they have banned honking of horns while driving and also firing crackers. When such is the case how can they allow firing of canons,” he questioned.
Mysore Amateur Naturalist former Member Guruprasad said that any unnatural sounds will definitely disturb the animals and birds. 'If the birds get disturbed, they fly for other place. Before hosting any event, everything has to be taken into consideration. This is an 'uncivilised culture' in the name of tradition. There is need of stopping some traditions, which affect the lives of birds and animals.'