Asian elephant herd
Photo: Avijan Saha

Reducing human-elephant conflict in the Karbi Foothills of Assam

Why is this project so important?

Asian elephants and people share the same landscapes in India and are living more closely together than ever before. With both competing for the same space, conflicts are on the rise. Elephants damage property and crops, violent encounters result in injuries, and even in loss of life: on average, one person dies every day, and two elephants die every week, as a result of human-elephant conflict (HEC) in India. The Karbi foothills, in Assam, are a hotspot for this conflict which is the result of settlements encroaching into elephant habitat, and a loss of awareness around the challenges of living peacefully alongside these large pachyderms.

Project partner: Green Guard Nature Organisation

Duration: 2018-2020

Elephant population: 200-300, increasing during the winter migration

Project goals

To improve elephant habitat and food availability, and to raise awareness of wildlife and habitat protection among local communities, to mitigate human-elephant conflict.

What we do

Through our project partner we are engaging local communities throughout the Karbi foothills, to build a sustainable local solution to HEC. This project addresses both sides of the conflict story. First, elephant habitat will be improved through planting some of the elephants’ preferred fodder species, and removing invasive creepers and shrubs. Salt licks will also be created to improve elephant nutrition. Alongside this, an awareness raising campaign will reach schools and community groups with information about local wildlife and habitats, and addressing the issues around the illegal poaching and killing of protected species. Together, this will reduce the level of crop damage and subsequent violent retaliations against intruding herds, and foster improved relationships between human and elephant communities.

October 2018 Project Update: Reviving the ancient bond with wildlife