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Underpasses for Elephant Movement and Anti-Depredation Camps to Mitigate Human-Elephant Conflicts: Animesh


BY TC News Desk

Agartala, 11th June 2024:  In an effort to address the ongoing human-elephant conflicts in Tripura, the Forest Department has initiated several measures, including the construction of underpasses at five locations along National Highway 8. This highway serves as a vital connection between Tripura and the rest of the country via Assam.

Forest Minister Animesh Debbarma highlighted the severe issues faced by residents in Khowai District due to elephant incursions, noting that this conflict presents a major challenge for the forest department.

Following a recent meeting with forest officials, which included a four-hour brainstorming session, a series of strategic decisions were made to tackle the problem.

“The Forest Departments in Khowai and Gomati have been tasked with preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to seek funding from the Centre. Given that elephants have specific migratory paths, we plan to implement Elephant Proof Trenches in vulnerable areas near habitations and agricultural fields. Additionally, live fences comprising agave, cactus, and lemon seedlings will be planted to deter elephants,” Debbarma stated.

Furthermore, the Minister announced the establishment of five Anti-Depredation Camps equipped with facilities such as accommodation and watch towers to ensure continuous monitoring of the human-elephant conflict. The Anti-Depredation Squad will be reinforced with additional Forest Guards from other Forest Protection Units statewide and newly trained Forest Guards graduating from the Forest Training Academy in Hatipara, providing immediate support to control the conflict.

Long-term solutions include recruiting for the vacant Mali-cum-Watcher positions within the Forest Department.

Three locations along NH-8, specifically the Ambassa-Mungiakami stretch in Khowai District, and two locations on the Mungiakami-Chakmaghat stretch, have been identified for the development of underpasses. These underpasses will facilitate the free movement of elephants and other wildlife across the highway, ensuring the continuity of their natural corridors.

“This initiative aims to preserve the elephant corridors and effectively resolve the human-elephant conflict in the State. Proposals will be submitted to NH/NHIDCL for funding in accordance with FC guidelines. Additionally, elephant scaring instruments will be procured for use by the Anti-Depredation Squads to manage problem elephants in emergency situations,” Debbarma added.

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