Environmental Graduates in Himalaya successfully organized our monthly program Guff-Gaff with Mr. Ramesh Kumar Thapa, Former Conservation Officer at Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation. He gave a talk on “Human-Elephant Coexistence: Lesson Learnt”
Talking about the worldwide distribution scenario of elephant, species and the population status, the talk focused mainly on the Asian elephant found in Nepal and the initiative taken to enable the human-elephant co-existence. Mentioning about its large sized body and the habitat, the talk emphasized on the requirements of large home range but as a result of the increasing habitat fragmentation, expansion of human settlements and encroachment has led to the habitat shrinkage which has become the major reason for the human-elephant conflict. The talk mentioned that the unethical behavior of people, such as teasing, going nearby, causes the elephant to lose its temper resulting in attacks leaving the people injured. Thus with the major motive to reduce human-elephant conflict by generating awareness and the positivity to the people, a campaign” Hatti mero sathi” has been initiated with the concept that human and elephant should co-exist for the betterment. The talk focused on the mechanism and the provisions of the campaign. Early warning system through loudspeakers attached in the tower placed in different area, through Radio Tiger FM and mobile applications, people are made aware about the number of elephant entering to the particular area, its activities and towards which direction elephant has been marching to ensure their safety. Giving more detail, awareness program has been carried out to school level students about the nature, its behavior, condition the elephants may attack and the protection measures that one can apply. Exploring the part of compensation, local level compensation scheme “samudayik santawana puraskar” has been initiated in the Khata corridor, Bardiya in which the registered members are provided the additional compensation if the government schemes seems to be insufficient. The talk highlighted that human injury and death has been minimized and controlled in a huge number in Khata corridor, which is the most frequent moving trail of elephant as a result of these initiatives. Further, the talk also explored that study is being carried out for the further improvement and expansion of the campaign through the lesson learnt. The talk was followed by a discussion session and ended with the vote of thanks from Ms. Srijana Sigdel, coordinator of Environmental Graduates in Himalaya.