Kushal Konwar Sarma

In order to avoid human-elephant conflict, preventive measures like chilli fences, planting lemon trees (bio-fence) instead of electric fences, using smoke as well as growing long-awned rice varieties can be adopted for greater effects, according to Padmashree award-winning veterinarian Kushal Konwar Sarma.

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Popularly known as Elephant Man of Asia, Sarma said this while delivering a talk on the topic ‘Man-Elephant Conflict: The Challenges and Remedial Measures’ at the 10th Late Parul Phukan Memorial Lecture organised by the Cotton University Women’s Forum (CUWF) on March 15.

Highlighting a number of long-term and short-term mitigation measures in order to avoid man-elephant conflict, Sarma said, “It is important to involve community when it comes to finding solutions towards man-elephant conflict and raising awareness regarding the importance of preservation and protection of elephants.”

“Unchecked human population, deforestation, scarcity of resources, blockade of elephant corridors and unjustifiable human activities are the prime reasons for elephant-human conflict in today’s context,” he added.

Sarma further added that there is an indirect linkage between elephants and water. Through elephant waste, nature ensures seed dispersion with nutrition. He said that there would be no water without forests and elephants add to the biomass of the forest floor. Moreover, elephants are capable of realizing the availability of water. They can easily dig water with their legs from the dry river and lake beds which in turn benefit other animals and birds in search of water too.

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The programme was flagged off with an introductory address by Sangeeta Barthakur, head, department of statistics and secretary of CUWF who highlighted the activities of the forum and introduced the audience to Late Parul Phukan. She enlightened Phukan’s rich legacy of social work and dedication towards the upliftment of minority communities in North Lakhimpur.

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About Jassika Poudyel

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Jassika Poudyel is a Guwahati-based journalist.

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