Creating more awareness among elephant affected villages

Creating more awareness among elephant affected villages
Minister CM Chang, IAS (Rtd), and Advisor Mhathung Yanthan with officials and participants during the awareness campaign held at Hajang Baptist Church (HBC) on September 11.


Wokha, September 12 (MExN): An awareness campaign for conservation of forest and wildlife to mitigate human elephant conflict and wildlife crime, was organised by the Dimapur Wildlife Division, Nagaland Forest Department, at Hajang Baptist Church (HBC) on September 11.


CM Chang, IAS (Rtd), Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Parliamentary Affairs and Mhathung Yanthan, Advisor, Horticulture Department, Dr. Manazir Jeelani Samoon, IAS graced the function. A press release from the Chief Wildlife Warden stated that besides other officials and guests, GBs of the 21 elephant affected villages of middle range, Wokha District attended the campaign.


Minister CM Chang in his speech stated that protection of forest and wildlife had been recognized long back in our Constitution and Directive Principles of the State Policy. He stated that our forefathers were hunters in the past. The State Government of Nagaland had implemented the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, since December 18, 1981, considering the importance of forest and wildlife for human survival.


He appealed to the people to protect elephants and come forward for declaring their land/forest for elephant based community reserve and avail benefits under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Minister also illustrated by taking the example of protection of Amur Falcons by the people of the State and as a result the State has been recognized as the Capital of Falcons by the World Community.


Mhathung Yanthan, Advisor, Horticulture Department spoke about the current gravity of the elephant problem in most parts of Wokha District. He opined that the Department should domesticate and tame the wild elephants, if there are means, in order to minimize the conflict. He advised the villagers under his constituencies to come up with elephant based community reserve at the earliest.


Satya Prakash Tripathi, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden initially briefed on the genesis of human-elephant problems in Wokha District and highlighted the policies of the State Government and the Ministry of Environment, Forest (MoEF) & Climate Change, GoI, New Delhi for addressing the issue. He also shared about the existing sanctuaries and the lone National Park in Nagaland – Intanki National Park. A PowerPoint on the concept of Community Reserves and Human-Elephant Conflict was elaborated. He added that these Community Reserve projects are funded by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India.


Tripathi also remarked that the government is concerned about this issue and remedial steps are also on the process to prevent the elephant menace. He appreciated the efforts put by the State Government in notifying all CCAs into Community Reserves by the State Government and subsequent funding by the Ministry for the benefit of the department as well as the communities owning the CCAs.


Dr. Manazir Jeelani Samoon, IAS, DC Wokha lamented how people are responsible for destroying elephant historical corridors and are only to blame themselves for the current situation. In this regard he appealed all to come up with alternative ways to mitigate the problem. He stated that National Disaster Management Authority has recognized elephant problem in Wokha District as the State/Local Disasters’ activity. He stated that there is potential for developing Wokha District as a Tourist spot as there are good number of wild elephants and good number of Amur Falcon visiting Pangti village every year. The area can be developed on landscape level for which coordination among Forest Department, Land Resource Department and other allied Departments are essentially required. He also made an emphasis on opening Aadhaar linked bank accounts in order to avail benefits under different schemes of the Government.


Manojkumar, IPS, SP Wokha, in his brief speech highlighted the fundamental duties of every citizen as laid out by the Constitution of India, Article 51A (g) to protect and conserve flora and fauna. He also stated that since 2015, every district has a coordinated unit ready to tackle wildlife crime. He appealed to the people to protect elephant to mitigate Human-Elephant conflict and wildlife crime. There had been positive and lively interaction among the participants and questions raised by the villagers were responded by the Department Officials.


A video presentation, ‘Nagaland is changing… But’ was made by Kikavi Chophi, Forest Ranger, WCCU, Dimapur. Demonstrations of Elephant repellents and distribution of brochures in Lotha dialect were made by the officials of the Wildlife Crime Control Unit, Dimapur. A pledge to promote conservation and preservation of forest and wildlife was also administered by Kikavi Chophi, Forest Range Officer. The programme was chaired by YM Jami, IFS, CF (NTC) & Director, Intangki National Park and vote of thanks was proposed by Kikavi Chophi, Forest Ranger, WCCU.