GUWAHATI, Dec 20: In an effort to foster coexistence between villagers and wild elephants, 61 community members from villages under Charaguwa Grant in Sivasagar, have undergone training on the installation, monitoring, and maintenance of seasonal solar-powered fences. These fences aim to prevent damages caused by herds of wild elephants that frequently visit the villages.
The training was facilitated by Aaranyak, a premier biodiversity conservation organisation, and the British Asian Trust, with support from the Darwin Initiative (UK Aid). The initiative empowers villagers to mitigate conflicts with wild elephants and encourages peaceful coexistence by using seasonal solar fences.
Seasonal solar-powered fences have proven to be effective in protecting standing crops, lives, and homesteads in areas prone to human-elephant conflict (HEC). The training focused on providing practical skills and knowledge to the community members, enabling them to use seasonal solar fences as an efficient mitigation tool in HEC-affected regions.
The agrarian community in Charaguwa Grant, Sivasagar, faces challenges from herds of wild elephants, making the need for such mitigation tools crucial to safeguard crops and homes. The training comprised both theoretical and hands-on sessions, covering installation, maintenance, monitoring, and the types of materials required for non-lethal solar-powered fences. A live demonstration of solar fence installation was also conducted during the training.
Aaranyak’s expert on solar fences, Anjan Baruah, led the training, assisted by Dibakar Nayak and Rupam Gayari. British Asian Trust officials Belinda Stewart-Cox and Auro Shashwat, along with Aaranyak’s senior scientist Dr Bibhuti Prasad Lahkar and senior conservation biologist Dr Alolika Sinha, were present during the training.
Aaranyak and the British Asian Trust, with support from the Darwin Initiative, are actively engaged in promoting human-elephant coexistence in eastern Assam and West Garo Hill district of Meghalaya. The initiative focuses on educating people, enhancing livelihoods, and protecting subsistence livelihoods using seasonal solar-powered fences.