''Ghost Chili'' Scares Off Elephants

''Ghost Chili'' Scares Off Elephants
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Elephants graze at the Kaziranga National Park in India's northeastern state of Assam on October 29, 2002.

Northeast India has the world's largest concentration of wild Asiatic elephants. About 5,000 are estimated to be in Assam state.

Increasingly human encroachment and depletion of the forests have forced wild elephants to stray into settlements in search of food.

Wildlife authorities in the state have warned that the human-elephant conflict is reaching alarming proportions. Conservationists in Assam are now experimenting with fences smeared with the oil of the bhut jolokia—the world's hottest chili to ward off elephants attacking agricultural land and villages.

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—Photograph by Ritu Raj Konwar/Reuters
 
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