Kochi | A new conservation project aimed at effective management of human-elephant conflict and protecting the habitats of Asian elephants in six states has been launched here. Kerala-based business conglomerate Muthoot Group has launched the ‘Friends for Life’ project in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature-India.
The project is part of the Muthoot Haathi Mera Saathi CSR initiative, a company press release said today. The partnership will catalyse and strengthen the existing efforts of managing human-elephant conflict (HEC) across the six states, in four priority landscapes and one priority site as earmarked by WWF-India.
These include North Bank landscape in Arunachal Pradesh, Kaziranga and Karbi-Anglong in Assam; Terai Arc landscape in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; Western Ghats landscape in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and also some parts of northern West Bengal.
Speaking on the initiative, Alexander George Muthoot, Director of The Muthoot Group, said: The group has always stood up for protecting the environment and wildlife habitat. Human-Elephant conflict is essentially due to the struggle for space and resources between humans and elephants, leading to increase in conflict.
In 10 districts of Assam, approximately over 160 elephants had been killed in retaliation and more than 200 humans killed in the conflict between 2008 and 2012. This problem existed in other states too, he said.
As part of the partnership, WWF-India has also joined hands with local communities in the selected six states to address the problems and provide solutions in terms of reducing elephant and human lives lost, secure crop and property damage in villages and build a future where humans and elephants can live in harmony with each other.
Sharing the thought behind this initiative, Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India said: WWF-India has been working on elephant conservation since 1970s. India holds approximately 60 per cent of the world’s Asian elephant population and, therefore, we have a lot more responsibility towards conserving this species.
We have already set up electric fencing in Nilgiri North division of Tamil Nadu, and collected secondary information on HEC from Uttarakhand and data on human-elephant conflict from South Wayanad forest division in Kerala, he said. Currently, Anti Depredation Squads have also been formed in three project locations- Doom Dooma, Majuli and Deepor Beel area in Assam to manage HEC.
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