11 Dec, 2020
A one day Workshop and Rapid Response Team (RRT) Training was jointly organised on 11th December 2020 under the Indo-German Project on “Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation (HWC)” in India jointly with the Uttarakhand Forest Department and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) on Elephant behaviour, ecology, and conflict management including field craft on elephant monitoring, tracking and rescue operation. It focused on “Mitigation of human-elephant conflict in and around Rajaji Tiger Reserve with emphasis on mitigation strategies during Kumbh 2021 in Rajaji Tiger Reserve and adjoining landscapes” and “Knowledge Support to Development of Guidelines, Specialized Field Studies and Training on Human Wildlife Conflict mitigation in India”. The training aimed at the capacity building of the frontline staff of Haridwar and Kotdwar Forest Divisions in Uttarakhand who have to deal with conflict at the human-elephant interface on the regular basis.
In the inaugural session, Dr Dhananjai Mohan (Director, Wildlife Institute of India) and Dr S Sathyakumar (Scientist G, WII) spoke about various challenges facing Uttarakhand Forest Department and how the scientific approach of WII along with first-hand experience of the frontline staff can help in mitigating human-elephant conflict. Mr P K Patro (CF Shivalik Uttarakhand Forests) and Mr Sushant Kumar Patnaik (CCF Garhwal Uttarakhand Forests) pointed out the challenges associated with elephant conservation in human-use areas and emphasised on the need for various scientific and technological interventions for conflict mitigation.
The technical session focussed on various discussions on elephant behaviour, ecology and conflict management and mitigation strategies. Dr Bivash Pandav (Scientist-F, WII) talked about the conservation challenges in the Terai landscape, while Mr Shreedhar Vijayakrishnan talked about elephant behaviour and ecology in conflict situations. Mr Jayjit Das (WII) gave an overview of the elephant project in Rajaji National Park. Dr Anil Kumar Singh, WWF-India talked about the challenges of elephant conservation in a human-dominated landscape and community involvement. Mr Neeraj Sharma (DFO Haridwar) talked about the extent of HWC, particularly with elephant and leopard and the challenges in HWC mitigation in the landscape.
Dr Parag Nigam (Scientist-F, WII) talked about “Capturing elephants – opinions and concern” on elephant capture methodology and situations which need capturing elephants. Mr P K Patro gave the concluding remarks and emphasised on the capacity building of the frontline personnel and technological interventions for HWC mitigation. The WII team demonstrated the use of radio collars to the frontline staff. The various intricacies of the collar were explained and various misconceptions regarding collars were cleared and tracking methods were also explained to the staff.
The Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation (HWC) project implemented by GIZ in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and State Forest Departments of Karnataka, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, aims at providing technical support at the national level, and effective implementation of HWC mitigation measures in selected states of India. The project pilot sites are: Haridwar Forest Division and adjoining landscape including Rajaji Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand, Gorumara Wildlife Division in West Bengal, and Kodagu Forest Circle in Karnataka.
The main objective of the project is that the rural population in project areas, where agreed guidelines and tools are applied to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, is better protected against it. The project takes the approach of harmonious coexistence, by ensuring that both—human and wildlife—are protected from conflict. Read more
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