KAZIRANGA, Aug 12 - Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Elephant Reserve is the largest elephant reserve in Assam covering a vast areas including those of Kaziranga National Park and parts of Karbi Anglong, which witness less conflict among human and wildlife compared to other forest areas of Assam. This was the general observation of wildlife conservationists.
Speaking at a gathering during the observation of International Elephant Day today at Paramananda Lahon Auditorium in Kohora, Director of Kaziranga National Park-cum-Tiger Reserve P Shiva Kumar said that by nature the elephants are animals and they (elephants) use the same path which had been regularly used by their ancestors. But due to massive human interference, many reserve forests which remained as actual habitat of elephants have been disturbed leading to man-elephant conflict.
Comparing the situation of Kaziranga with Numaligarh, which witnessed a large-scale conflict between local residents and wild elephants, Kumar said that due to habitat�s fragmentation, the wild elephants finding no alternative option, come down to villages in Numaligargh and prefer to remain inside tea gardens as they do not find any way to move forward because of the blockage of their corridors.
He said that elephants in Kaziranga National Park did not have any such conflict with local residents of Kaziranga because their original corridors are not being blocked and locals allow the elephants to move up to foothills of Karbi Anglong without any disturbance.
Kumar said, �There is a need of restoring the original elephant corridors in Numaligarh if we want to reduce the conflict between man and elephant. We need to ensure the original connectivity for the elephants� movement in Numaligarh because earlier there was a complete belt of the wild elephant habitat in Numaligarh, which has now been reduced to fragments due to massive anthropogenic activities.�
While making his presentation on the wild elephants, Research Officer of Kaziranga National Park Rabin Sharma said that presence of wild elephants in a forest ensure healthy forest system having necessary forest resources.
Sharma informed that as per the last elephant census, total elephant population in Assam is 5,719. There are 1,163 wild elephants in Kaziranga as per the census done in 2017. He said that earlier there was a complet elephant corridor from Numaligargh to Letekujan, which was drastically disturbed and has been blocked during the past 10 years leading to serious man-elephant conflict in the area till date.
Dr Rathin Barman, Joint Director of Wildlife Trust of India in Kaziranga, said that artificial supply of any fodder to wild elephants was not a healthy practice as it will affect their migratory nature. Secondly, it would not be always possible to supply fodder artificially all throughout the year for wildlife.
A presentation on wildlife corridor in Lumding-Doboka was presented by Dr PJ Bora from WWF India.
Senior reporters Swapan Nath and Bubul Dutta also spoke on elephant conservation.