Interstate Workshop on Elephant Conflict Management
Although difficult and slow to implement, the Community-based Managemetn of Elephant Conflict (CBCM) model is one of the most promising methods to reduce conflict between people and elephants. However, it is not widely accepted and implemented in the country yet. Considering its potential as an effective model to reduce crop loss, we decided to invite frontline staff and field practioners from across the country to participate in the workshop at our field site where they would get to experience the working of the CBCM model.The workshop announcement met with unexpected response various forest departments wanted to participate in the same. From August to September 2015, we arranged four such workshops which lasted 3 days each at Kulgi Nature camp in Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve (DATR) in Karnataka. The participants consisted of frontline staff, senior officers , researchers and NGOs from various states. There were 16 participants from Chhatisgarh Forest Department, 10 from West Bengal Forest Department, 8 from Nepal Forest Department, 8 from Odisha Forest Department, and 9 from Nagaland Forest Department. The State Director Ms Sawswati Sen and Program Coordinator Dr. Sangita Mitra from WWF-West Bengal also accompanied the team. Mr. Steve Odiyou from Natural Nagas from Nagaland had attended the program. 5 researchers from Bangalore and West Bengal participated in the workshops. The participants interacted with the farmers and carried out the assembling of the crop protection measures on their own in the field. They have taken this experience back to their own state and are implementing it their areas. The participants also shared useful information of elephant status and conflict patterns in their state and methods used to manage the elephants. The workshop was found to be useful, interactive and mutually beneficial as there was exchange of information and methods between the participants from different states. The request for holding similar workshop is continuing as more states are interested in participating and learning about the CBCM measures. This project is supported by Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, USFWS. We thank Project Elephant Director, New Delhi, and PCCF and CWLW of all the participating states to facilitate the training workshop. We thank all the field staff from various states, WWF West Bengal, Natural Nagas, and researchers for traveling considerable distances for participating in the workshop. We thank Karnataka Forest Department, CF Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve, DCF Haliyal and Yellapur, ACFs, RFOs, Foresters, and Forest Guards of all three divisions for logistic help during the workshop.