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58 human-elephant conflict-affected villagers from Garo hills receive training on poultry farming

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Aug 18: Availability of alternative livelihood options is a powerful tool to facilitate human
elephant coexistence in a conflict zone.

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Fifty-eight beneficiaries from Jamdamgre, Borogobol, Bandukmali, Photamati, Bordubi, Darenchigre,
Lower Kharsindap villages in Garo hills areas of Meghalaya attended a training workshop on poultry
farming that was organised by Aaranyak and British Asian Trust with support from Darwin Initiative,
Meghalaya Forest Department and BDO Office, Tikrikilla, on 7th and 8thAugust at the conference hall of
BDO Office, Tikrikila, West Garo Hills district.
About 60 per cent of the trainees were women. The beneficiaries learnt effective farming techniques for
raising free-ranging chickens, as they demand better prices, to maximise the benefit for villagers from
these villages in West Garo hills which are affected by human-elephant conflict (HEC).
Aaranyak has been working with the local communities and other stakeholders to promote coexistence
by supplementing livelihoods of local communities, educating villagers about elephants, HEC,
monitoring elephant movement and supporting them with effective mitigation tools, such as solar-
powered fences, solar street lights, rechargeable torch lights, bio fencing to protect crops, people and
elephants. By supplementing livelihoods, Aaranyak and its collaborators have been working towards
offsetting the losses incurred because of HEC incidents.
Dr. Surajit Hajong, a veterinary doctor, who was the resource person in the training sessions, highlighted
that the Garo hills region was a suitable area for poultry farming.
He further mentioned how poultry farming may help boost village economy as it can be easily practised
by the villagers, including students and elderly with minimal investment.
However, he emphasised “Selection of sites to raise the chickens is crucial as it needs to have proper
drainage to avoid water logging, and the poultry should be regularly vaccinated to prevent diseases and
mortality.”
The participants interacted with Dr. Hajong to understand what sort of veterinary care is needed for
better survival of the poultry.
Dr. Alolika Sinha, a conservation biologist in Aaranyak who moderated the workshop, mentioned,
“Building capacity of local communities and active participation from all the stakeholders can go a long
way in enabling human-elephant coexistence”.
The training workshop began with a welcome note by Dr. Sinha, followed by felicitation of Dr. Hajong
and Range Officer from Wildlife Division Tura, Ms. Annie Marak.
The training programme was graced by the Range Officers, Ms. Jezebeld Arengh and Annie Marak on 7th
August.
Aaranyak’s staff members Anjan Baruah, Abhijit Boruah, Vendo Theodore, Nipul Chakma, and Subash
Rabha played a vital role by facilitating interaction among the participants and the resource person.
Pradip Barman, an assistant working with Aaranyak helped in organising the event.

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