TEZPUR, June 25 - At a time when the Forest department and other stakeholders are concerned about the man-elephant conflict that has been looming large in the northern belt of Sonitpur district following denudation of elephant habitats resulting in the loss of both wild elephants and the human beings, wildlife lover Saurav Barkataki has initiated a step to mitigate the growing wild elephant-created menace by a special plantation project in the Sonai Rupai and Balipara reserve forests.
Initiating the special project, the wildlife lover with the help of the Forest department personnel started the plantation project on Friday last by planting the saplings of banana and elephant apple tree (outenga) besides other fodder of elephants. It is to be mentioned here that like Charidwar and Balipara reserve forest, areas are facing serious threat to their very existence following illegal trade of forest resources including timber, sand and gravel and even poaching of wild animals by some politically-motivated unscrupulous people over the last many years leading to the denudation of the green forest cover. Because of this, the wildlife, particularly the wild elephants are losing their habitats.
Expressing concern over the serious man-elephant conflict the Forest department sources revealed that different agencies in Balipara area including the Patanjali and Dabar India Pvt Limited and the Army in Misamari areas have occupied many wetlands and Forest areas which were used by the wild elephants as their grazing spot and corridor.
�Now because of this, the wild elephants are losing their habitats, they use to come out to the village areas searching for fodder and create havoc among the people. And as a result of which, loss of lives of both human and animals lives are witnessed,� the sources said.
However, dedicated wildlife and nature lover Saurav Barkataki, who at present, is also a honorary wildlife warden of Forest department in Sonitpur District highlighting the special plantation programme mentioned that since wild elephants come out to human habitats only for fodder, we would like to block them by presenting them banana trees and elephant apples as their fodder. Saurav, who has devoted himself in selflessly protecting nature and wildlife, is very much instrumental in combating the man-elephant conflict that has been looming large in the region for the last few decades following rampant deforestation. �That is why we have started the project under the initiative of the new DFO, Sonitpur district, Ranjit Kwonar, which will definitely benefit the wild elephants,� he added.