Guwahati, February 23: Solar-powered fences have been installed in two human-elephant conflict (HEC) affected locations in Udalguri and Goalpara districts of Assam to mitigate the conflict and facilitate co-existence between human beings and wild elephants in the area.
The solar-powered fences keep the elephants off the human settlements without causing bodily harm to the animal unlike electric fences that pose grave danger to animals.
The raging human-elephant conflict often causes casualties on both sides. HEC-induced damages to property and crop has been on the rise in conflict zones across Assam and Northeast India with the passage of time.
Biodiversity conservation organization, Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org) and WWF-India have jointly installed a 7.5 km-long solar-powered fence to facilitate human-elephant coexistence at Segunbari Part 1 & 2, Nonaipara and Arongajuli area in Udalguri district. The fence was formally handed over to the community on February 15 last at No. 1 Segunbari LP School campus.
Aaranyak installed another 3.5 km long solar-powered fence at Nichinta Village in Goalpara district and handed over the same to the community on February 19 last.
Solar-powered fences will ensure food security and substantial decrease in the level of HEC, thus directly benefiting local communities residing in the areas. The installation of solar-powered fences was possible because of overwhelming support from local communities, Forest Department, and our generous donors, the NGO Aaranyak informed.
Both the solar-powered fences consist of two strands and have been installed covering several villages around the Nonaipara and Arongajuli area of Udalguri district and Nichinta village of Goalpara district. Both these districts are considered high human-elephant conflict zone.
Three units of solar operated high power fence machines were installed to run the fences. Before installation of the fences, the people of these areas used to have sleepless nights out of fear of losing their crops, property and lives to wild elephants.
Aaranyak provided technical know-how and equipment while the local communities participated actively in installing the fences. Besides, capacity building training was provided to the local youths for maintenance and ensuring sustainability of the fence.
Aaranyak has formed "Fence Management Committees" comprising members from the local villages to look after the fences and undertake regular maintenance of the same.