In an effort to mitigate the escalating human-elephant conflict (HEC) issue, Assam has launched the “Gajah Kotha” campaign, involving more than 1,200 individuals and promoting coexistence. This campaign focuses on HEC-affected villages in eastern Assam, where it aims to educate residents about the behavior, ecology, and cultural significance of elephants in the region, emphasizing the importance of conservation. Spearheaded by Aaranyak, a prominent wildlife NGO based in Guwahati, in collaboration with the British Asian Trust and the Assam Forest Department, and with support from the Darwin Initiative, this initiative demonstrates their dedication to fostering a harmonious coexistence between humans and elephants.
Advancements made thus far
So far, the campaigns have taken place at different venues such as Haladhibari, Jaborchuk Kathoni, Gazera, Gazera High School, Ujani Majuli Kherkatia High School, Pub Majuli Kherkatia High School, Jaborchuk Basa, and Jopanchuk in Majuli. Aaranyak has collaborated with various local organizations to actively involve community members and nurture future advocates in each area affected by human-elephant conflict (HEC). Through these partnerships, organizations and community members had the opportunity to engage with experts from Aaranyak, exchanging ideas on innovative approaches that promote harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife.
Assam’s Thriving Elephant Population and the Urgency for Sustainable Coexistence
With a flourishing elephant population of nearly 5,000 Asiatic elephants, Assam holds the second position in India in terms of elephant numbers, just behind Karnataka. Nonetheless, the region faces escalating conflicts as a result. The encroachment on natural habitats, fragmentation of forests, and insufficient management of elephant corridors have all played a role in exacerbating these conflicts, highlighting the vital importance of initiatives such as “Gajah Kotha” in promoting a sustainable coexistence.
Key takeaways for competitive examinations
- Chief Minister of Assam: Himanta Biswa Sarma