Dehradun, Oct 15 (PTI) Radio collaring of elephants began in Uttarakhand on Thursday with an aim to keep tab on their movement and reduce man-animal conflict, officials said.

The drive began as a tracking collar was tied around a 35-year-old male tusker in Haridwar forest division, they said.  Divisional Forest Officer Haridwar Niraj Kumar Sharma said the elephant was radio-collared in Dusowala area of Rasiabud range in the presence of Conservator of Forest (Shivalik Circle) P K Patro, scientists of the Wildlife Institute of India and officers of the Haridwar forest division.  Such preventive steps have become even more important in view of the Haridwar Mahakumbh which will see gathering of a large number of devotees in the holy town, Sharma said.

With the Rajaji Tiger Reserve located in Haridwar and the huge influx of people into the town during the Kumbh fair, chances of man-animal conflict may rise. Radio-collaring of elephants in the area is meant to minimise that possibility, the DFO said.

The exercise was undertaken to minimise man-animal conflict scenarios. It was found during a three-month survey conducted recently that some elephants used to stray out of their natural habitats to raid crops in nearby areas at the risk entering into a confrontation with humans, he said.

"At least ten elephants who were in the habit of foraying into human habitations for raiding crops have been identified. They will be radio collared one by one," he said.  It will not only help prevent man-animal conflicts but also save standing crops, he said.

"By radio-collaring elephants we can easily monitor their movements with the help of satellites. We can get their exact location and arrive there to push them back ," he said.