Saturday, 30 August 2008

Bhutan : Sound and light show to scare off wildlife

29 August, 2008 - The Ministry of Agriculture has devised an ingenious indigenous contraption, somewhat similar to a police siren in its function, to prevent wild animals from attacking farmer’s fields at night.

The inventor is Pema Dakpa, 39, of the post-harvest division in Paro, who has also created an improved local potato storage system. His latest invention uses a vehicle horn, fluorescent lights and a table fan, without the blades, and energised by electricity. The fan, with the light, rotates, producing a screechy rattling sound. All this is controlled by a timer and thermostat so that it turns on and off during intervals.

According to Pema Dakpa, the concept originated from talking to farmers. “They (farmers) said that wild boars were driven away by torchlight and from the banging of tins and plates. I just mechanised both features in a single device.”

His invention has been a boon to farmers in Pongmesa, Paro, where it was tried recently. Wild boars were easily scared off by the strange noise from the device. There was a 90-day test period and it proved a success. The instrument has been efficient with wild boars, monkeys and sambar. It is currently being tried in Zhemgang, Mongar, Trashigang and Trashiyangtse. If it is successful, the agriculture ministry has plans to replicate it in farms across the country.

“It’s quite a clever contraption,” said Tashi Wangchuk, an environmentalist who visited the site in Paro. “It works well and appears effective for farmers. It’s a good start.”

Chencho Tshering

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