Resources Himalaya Foundation successfully organized a panel discussion on the occasion of World Elephant Day on August 12, 2021. The discussion was on the theme “Human-Elephant Conflict: Challenges to Elephant Conservation.” The panelists included Mr. Hari Bhadra Acharya (Ecologist, DNPWC), Dr. Narendra Man Babu Pradhan (Elephant Expert; Program Coordinator, IUCN) and Mr. Ramesh Thapa (Former Conservation Officer, DNPWC). The program was moderated by Dr. Dinesh Neupane (Elephant Expert; Executive Director, RHF).
The panel discussion was carried out in two rounds. First round was about the Human-Elephant conflict scenario whereas the second round was discussion about the current mitigation measures and way forward to reduce the conflict. They talked about the incidents of elephant attacks, the major places it occurs, and the ways community has been dealing with it. They also highlighted on the different actions being taken to reduce the conflict through various research organizations, government and the local institutions. All the panelists constantly highlighted about the nature of elephants, its movement, and the way the habitat has been fragmented due to various developmental activities.
In the second round, they focused on the need for coexistence of both human and elephant in such a way that the elephant can move freely and the livelihood of the local people is not affected. They pointed out various research as well as activities being carried out, such as relief funds by government, conservation action plans, transboundary cooperation policies, and research about alternatives to reduce the human-elephant encounter. A successful example was given from the Khata corridor, where the group “Hathi Mero Sathi” has been actively working to create awareness in community. The early warning system, alternative income generative activities, and new compensation initiatives to add extra amount to relief fund to victim’s family have created a positive attitude among the local people. Let’s create such harmony between elephant and human in the conflict areas.