SHILLONG, Jan 5 � With more than 2,000 elephants in Meghalaya facing an acute shortage of space and food especially in East Garo Hills district and a few areas bordering West Khasi Hills district, the State Forest department is planning to adopt the areas as elephant reserve.
Divulging this, Principal Conservator of Forest (PCCF) V K Nautiyal said that the Forest department is forced to create an elephant reserve adopting an eco-compatible development in the areas where elephants roam with the hope that within next four to five years it would show tangible results.
The strategy is expected to yield results when elephant-human conflicts will be reduced to an extent.
At present, the human-elephant conflicts have reached a ceiling with human habitations in the hills encroaching the elephants� traditional habitats resulting in destruction of property and even poaching leading to elephant depredation, Nautyal said.
The PCCF stated that the root cause of human-elephant conflict is the growing human population growth and resultant pressure on elephant habitat. Habitat loss and degradation have inevitably led to conflict, he pointed out.
However, the department is also at the receiving end when the landholding system in the State does not permit it to entertain the idea of creating a reserve for elephants. Most of the lands do not belong to the government, but are private properties, thereby putting the department at a fix.
�There is no such well demarcated forest area here and the government cannot interfere in settlement of the people�s dwellings and the forest area is mixed up�, he said.