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Aaranyak’s multi-pronged strategy aims to mitigate HEC

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Oct 19: Aaranyak, a prominent biodiversity conservation organization, has launched a multi-pronged strategy to enhance community-oriented efforts for mitigating the human-elephant conflict (HEC) in select areas of Tamulpur and Baksa districts in Assam. The goal is to foster coexistence between humans and elephants in these affected regions.

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The three-pronged strategy includes introducing HEC-affected farmers to alternative crops as substitutes for paddy, installing solar-powered LED lights to deter wild elephants from approaching human settlements and crop fields, and constructing watchtowers to enable community monitoring of crop fields against herds of wild elephants. These initiatives are supported by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the SBI Foundation (SBIF).

Alternative Crops:

Aaranyak has introduced HEC-affected communities to alternative crops that are less appealing to wild elephants and can serve as a form of bio-fencing to deter elephant herds. Sesapani village in Tamulpur district has been a pilot site for cultivating these alternative crops, which not only supplement the income of affected communities but also contribute to conflict mitigation. A training program was organized on October 6 for local farmers, where they learned about crops like Assam lemon, ginger, turmeric, and mustard, which are less likely to be foraged by elephants. The training emphasized various aspects of crop cultivation, including seed treatment, land preparation, nutrient management, and disease control. Mustard seeds were distributed to farmers keen on cultivating this alternative crop.

 

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LED Lights:

Five solar-powered LED lights were installed in Nayapara and Hastinapur areas in Baksa district to protect crop fields from wild elephant foraging and restrict elephant movement around human settlements. These lights, supported by solar energy and sensors, illuminate specific areas in a rhythmic sequence at night. Elephants tend to avoid these lights, contributing to reduced conflict. This initiative, supported by the SBI Foundation, benefits around 1500 households in the Chawlkara revenue village.

 

Watch Towers:

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In Onthaibari and Khasibari neighborhoods of No. 2 Dongorgaon village in Baksa district, Aaranyak is collaborating with local communities to construct six permanent watchtowers. These towers facilitate community-led crop guarding to protect standing paddy from wild elephant foraging. Community crop guarding has proven effective in other areas, making it a valuable strategy to reduce HEC.

Aaranyak’s dedicated team has been actively involved in implementing these initiatives aimed at promoting harmonious coexistence between humans and elephants.

 

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://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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