Human-elephant conflict mitigation in Manas landscape discussed

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Kokrajhar, October 4: Human-elephant conflict has taken a very serious turn in Udalguri and Baksa districts in BTAD with deaths of 18 people and 3 wild elephants in Udalguri district during 2019 (till September). Total 126 numbers of people and 52 numbers of wild elephants have been killed in the district since 2012. Human elephant conflict has also created severe concerns in other BTAD districts namely, Baksa, Chirang and in the southern areas of Manas National Park. A high-level policymaking meeting was held at Kokrajhar on September 25 on the issue. The meeting was convened by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) in association with BTC administration. Khampa Borgayari, Deputy Chief, BTC inaugurated the session at 10 am on September 25 at the conference hall of the Hotel Gauranga which was presided over by A Sworgowari, Chief Conservator of Forest cum ChD, Forest department, BTC. Several distinguished wildlife experts and wildlife activists of Assam namely-Amal Sarma, Field Director, Raghunath Boro, Deputy Field Director and Dharanidhar Boro, OSD, Manas National Park; Susie Offord Wooley from Chester Zoo, USA; Dr. KK Sarma (veterinarian and wildlife expert); Dr.Rathin Barman, Deputy Director,Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC),Kaziranga National Park besides officials of various nature organizations like-WTI, WWF, Aranyak, Nature Foster etc attended the daylong session. Dr.Bhaskar Choudhury of WTI welcomed all the guests before anchoring the proceedings of the discussion.MK Sarma, DFO, Dhansiri Forest Division, Udalguri and Jayanta K Das, Hony. Wildlife Warden, Udalguri offered a presentation on latest HEC in Udalguri district. They also presented a few long and short term suggestions before the house to minimize the conflict. 

a)Creation of buffer zone near the RF and WLS,

b)Proving drinking water to wild animals of Bornadi WLS,

c)Reopening of elephant corridors in Newly PRF (mostly encroached by people) for free movement of wild elephants and tigers and to open the lost link between Bornadi WLS and Khalingduar RF.

d)Eviction of settlements from Newly Hills. It was proposed as PRF by forest department during 1986. But due to the negligence of the revenue department of Assam, notification was never made. Action plan is made for cancellation of allotments.

e)BTC authority to direct the large tea gardens operating in the district or in BTAD to make provision for the shelter of wild elephants in an area of 10 to 20 Hect with drinking water facility. The tea gardens must not close or block the elephant passages inside their gardens.

f) Massive awareness campaign is launched among villagers or tea garden workers.

g)Creation of new habitats for wild animals in the vacant government land.

h)Most of the human deaths have been caused by loner wild elephants, it is necessary to make a survey of such loner wild elephants by experts or preparing a database with photographs and range of changing locations.

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