Thursday, 7 June 2012

Grain distributed to villagers affected by elephant conflict

Grain-For-Grain - A bargain for elephants and people
May 2012: As a relief measure for 100 human-elephant conflict affected households around Pakke Tiger Reserve, 10,000 Kilograms of rice has been distributed under the grain-for-grain programme, by the Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The grain was distributed under WTI's Rapid Action Projects supported by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) and philanthropist Lakshmi Reddy.
Crops damaged by elephants
"People residing in the vicinity of Pakke are highly-affected by wildlife crop depredation problems. During 2011-2012, wild elephants have extensively damaged agriculture crop for 100 families of poor farmers. The grain is being distributed to these families as a measure to provide them some relief," said Tana Tapi, Divisional Forest Officer, Pakke Wildlife Division.
Reduce instances of retaliations against elephants
The grain-for-grain scheme was conceptualised by WTI to provide relief to farmers, as well as to help reduce instances of retaliations against the pachyderms, under a study funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Since its launch in 2005, the scheme supported by various agencies and individuals has benefited hundreds of households around Pakke TR.
"This is not compensation, but rather a ‘relief' provided to the families affected by the loss of crops," explains Sunil Kyarong, Regional Head - Northeast India, WTI, who was a part of the team that conceptualised grain-for-grain.
400 humans and 100 elephants killed every year
About 400 humans are killed in conflicts with wild elephants in India each year and 100 elephants killed in retaliation.
"Through this scheme, we are creating a ‘bargain', to ensure that conflicts don't go out of hand, as it can not only cause more casualties but also negate conservation initiatives," Kyarong added.

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