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Aaranyak And British Asian Trust Lead Grassroots Effort For Human-Elephant Coexistence

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HT Bureau

 

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GUWAHATI, Nov 23: Biodiversity conservation organisation Aaranyak, in collaboration with British Asian Trust, is intensifying efforts to foster human-elephant coexistence in the expansive terrains of West Garo Hills (WGH) in Meghalaya and Goalpara district in Assam. Their joint initiative, aimed at mitigating conflict, involves mobilising community support and engaging stakeholders to accelerate the implementation of a comprehensive mitigation plan.

 

Under the Darwin Initiative-sponsored project, Aaranyak conducted a two-day training workshop starting from November 18 on the installation and management of solar-powered fences—a proven tool for mitigating human-elephant conflict. The workshop, held in Borogobal village in West Garo Hills, Meghalaya, saw the active participation of 37 villagers, including 17 females, members of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU), village champions, and the village head.

 

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The Aaranyak resource team, led by senior official Anjan Baruah, provided insights into the concept of solar fences, their types, parts, and utility in conflict mitigation. The second day of the workshop involved a practical session on the installation of solar fences, with active participation from women villagers.

Before implementing on-ground mitigation measures, Aaranyak formed a Rapid Response Unit (RRU) in Borogobal village, the first of its kind in the area. Comprising 30 participants from neighboring villages, the RRU utilises a WhatsApp group to facilitate the rapid transmission of information on wild elephant movements, enabling timely alerts to villagers to minimise human-elephant conflict.

 

Additionally, Aaranyak collaborated with the Rongjuli Range Forest Office for an awareness meeting earlier this month at Karipara M.E. School campus in Goalpara district. The meeting, attended by around 35 individuals from various villages, focused on the current human-elephant conflict status in the greater area and discussed compensation procedures for lives and property lost due to conflict.

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The Forest range officer of Rongjuli, Md Khalilur Rahman, highlighted the actions taken by the Forest Department, compensation procedures, and support provided to select community members in the form of torch lights. Anjan Baruah delivered a presentation on elephant behavior, habitat, fodder, and movement habits, explaining various mitigation measures undertaken.

 

The collaborative efforts of Aaranyak and British Asian Trust, along with the active involvement of local communities, aim to create a conducive environment for human-elephant coexistence and address the challenges posed by human-elephant conflict in the region.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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