NGO lists ways to tackle man-elephant conflict
Guwahati: Aaranyak, a scientific and industrial research organisation recognised by the department of scientific and industrial research under the Union ministry of science and technology, said a multi-dimensional approach is needed to reduce the man-elephant conflict.
The organisation has also trained over 150 conservation volunteers who offer their professional and voluntary services in the field of nature conservation. It works to ensure long term sustenance efforts towards wildlife and environmental research, conservation and management in the region. Reduction of human-elephant conflict is a top priority for the organisation.
Aaranyak CEO Bibhab Talukdar said, "We started our organisation 29 years ago to increase awareness on wildlife and tree plantation. We have provided a platform to 110 conservation workers in the field of environment education, species-based research, documentation and conservation efforts. It is a matter of concern that 60 elephants or 1 per cent of the elephant population has died in the last 10 months. The state government needs to take steps to mitigate this problem and that of floods that is causing environmental degradation. There is lack of awareness among decision-makers. Environmental degradation is not accorded high priority. There is no recharge of groundwater and the water-bearing capacity of waterbodies is decreasing."
The human-elephant conflict was attributed to the decrease in forest cover as elephants are being unable to sustain themselves in the forests.
A multi-dimensional approach was suggested by the Aaranyak team. The organisation has been planting lemon trees, turmeric, camomile and a foul-smelling cassava on a trial basis in Golaghat district to discourage elephants from entering human habitations. Aaranyak has also erected electric fences in some areas affected by conflict.
Spreading awareness in schools and villages is another way of addressing this problem, the organisation said.