GOALPARA, Dec 20 - Aaranyak, which has been working in the area of biodiversity conservation in the Northeast, has come up with a slew of strategies for mitigating man-elephant conflict in Goalpara district.
Talking to this correspondent, programme secretary and head, elephant research conservation division of Aaranyak, Dr Bibhuti P Lahkar, said that the management strategies initiated for mitigating man-elephant conflict will be aimed at developing sustainable and long-term solutions, rather than short-term prevention strategies.
Talking about the rising number of man-elephant conflicts in the district, Dr Lahkar said that food scarcity due to depletion of forest cover and human settlements near elephant habitats have forced the giant pachyderms to forage for food in human habitats. All conflict zones will be identified with the objective of reducing farmers� losses and protecting their crops during the harvesting season, and initially, Aaranyak has proposed to erect a 16-km long, community-based, solar-powered electric fencing to keep the elephants away from the villages, he said.
Secondly, Dr Lahkar mentioned that Aaranyak will also initiate capacity building among the community members living in the conflict zones, besides the volunteers of �Hati� committees and other stakeholders in a systematic manner. Installation of solar streetlights will also be taken up in a small way initially on the peripheries of some of these conflict zones to reduce man-elephant conflicts in these areas, Dr Lahkar added.
Some other initiatives include planting of thorny trees to prevent elephants from entering the farmlands.
DFO KN Das welcomed the harmless ways proposed by Aaranyak to drive out the animals from the conflict zones in order to address a major conservation issue.