Elephant repellent

Published: Monday 15 September 1997

A pepper spray will be used to deter wild elephants from raiding farms. The spray can is being developed by Loki Osborn, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge, UK and Jack Birochak, an inventor based at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Osborn says that elephants destroy thousands of dollars' worth of crop each year in Asia. The device will help in reducing crop damage. A spray can holds about one kg of a mixture of pepper and oil. As it is difficult to use a spray can close to wild elephants, Birochak is developing a compressed air launcher that would throw the can as far as 200 metres. The launcher lobs the spray can in an area near the elephants, where it begins to spout after hitting the ground. The elephants freeze, sneeze, and leave the area quickly, says Osborn ( New Scientist , Vol 154, No 2078).

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