DIMAPUR, March 27 - An environmental group in Nagaland � Green-SONS � today attributed narrower and constricted elephant corridors in the Bagthy valley of Wokha district to the increase in the man-elephant conflict in the district.
Chairman of Green-SONS Jess T Murry, in a release, said elephant herds are known to migrate across 350-500 sq km, but increasingly fragmented landscapes are driving the giant mammals more frequently into human-dominated areas, giving rise to more man-elephant conflicts.
Saying maintenance of elephant corridors is of crucial importance, the group said the more the fragmentation of the landscapes, the more the elephant corridors and the conflicts.
�It is now crucial for the involvement of the community in conservation,� the group said. It said the elephant corridors in Bagthy valley are getting narrower and constricted in many areas as compared to the last five-six years due to agricultural activities, both settled and jhum cultivations, logging, coal mining and construction of agricultural link roads and other similar human activities.
It said comparative observations regarding the status of the elephant corridors from 2006 to 2019 are worrying as they indicate a �dramatic degradation� of the corridors.
The release said only 21.8 per cent of the corridors are free of human settlements in 2019 as compared to 23.9 per cent in 2006, while 45.5 per cent have one-three settlements in 2019 compared to 42 per cent in 2006. In terms of land use, only 12.9 per cent of the corridors are totally under forest cover in 2019 compared to 24 per cent in 2006, the group said.
According to the group, eviction or relocation of villagers is not possible as the Nagas are inherent to their land holding pattern and to do the same with the elephants is not possible.
Therefore, attitude of the people living in the district is crucial for restoration of wild habitats and the corridors. �People avoiding the use of the crucial migratory routes is the only appropriate way to avert human-elephant conflicts,� it said.
The group said, �Though the government authority may be trying possible ways and means to contend with the conflicts of human and elephant, it would be a Herculean task to achieve the desired goal unless the local communities and NGOs imbibe a participatory approach to tackle the escalating elephant menace.�
It may be mentioned that in the last decade, dozens of human lives and many properties have been lost due to man-elephant conflicts and many elephants have also been killed in retaliation.