Assam’s human-elephant conflict is intensifying day by day, resulting in casualties on both sides. Property damage and crop damage are escalating in conflict zones across Assam and Northeast India with passing time.
In this backdrop Research-based biodiversity conservation organization, Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org) has initiated a humble step for fostering co-existence between humans and wild animals.
Aaranyak and WWF-India jointly installed a 7.5 km long solar-powered fence to facilitate humanelephant coexistence at Segunbari Part 1 & 2, Nonaipara and Arongajuli area in Udalguri district and formally inaugurated it on February 15, 2022 at No. 1 Segunbari LP School campus. Aaranyak installed another 3.5 km long solar-powered fence at Nichinta Village in Goalpara district and inaugurated the same on February 19, 2022 by Aaranyak.
This initiative will ensure food security and substantial decrease in the level of human-elephant conflict (HEC), thus directly benefiting local communities residing the areas. The installation of solar-powered fences was possible because of overwhelming support from local communities, Forest Department.
Both the solar-powered fences consist of two strands and have been installed covering several villages around the Nonaipara and Arongajuli area of Udalguri district and Nichinta village of Goalpara district. Both these districts are high human-elephant conflict zone. A total of three units of solar operated high power fence machines were installed to run the fences. Before installation of the fences, the people of these areas used to have sleepless nights in fear of losing their crops, properties and lives to wild elephants. A direct positive impact has been seen after installation of the power fence on the local community in the form of their improved social well being and enhanced food security. We provided technical know-how and equipment, while the local communities participated actively in installing the fences. Besides, capacity building training was provided to the local youths for maintenance and ensuring sustainability of the fence. Moreover, we formed “Fence Management Committees” comprising members from the local villages to look after the fences and undertake regular maintenance of the same.
In Udalguri district the event was attended by Anjan Baruah, Abhijit Baruah, Rubul Tanti, Rabiya Doimary and Pradeep Barman from Aaranyak. WWF-India was represented by Deba Dutta, Sunit Das and Bipul Nath. Besides, Debajit Borah and Naba Kr. Mahanta of Green Environment Task Force, social activist Kamal Azad, local conservationist Dibakar Nayak and PhD scholar Sayan Banerjee along with 60 other participants from local villages attended the inauguration meeting. Deba Dutta, Anjan Baruah, Kamal Azad, Jugal Singh Lahiri, Ram Kr. Limbu, Debajit Bora, Anjana Tanti interacted and shared their experiences on mitigating HEC. The local communities also shared the benefits that they had obtained from the solar fencing supported by Aaranyak and WWF-India.
Local communities expressed their gratitude to Aaranyak for undertaking this initiative, which ensured a peaceful coexistence between human beings and wild elephants.