A herd of wild elephants in Wokha district. (By Special Arrangement/Morung File Photo)
• Nagaland records second highest density/km² of elephant population
• 165 families in eight villages affected by elephants in 2018
Wokha, July 12 (MExN): As per report received from the District Forest Officer (DFO) Wokha, Zuthunglo Patton IFS, Human-Elephant Conflict in Wokha district is on the rise and increasing year by year.
According to a DIPR report, as per the nationwide Synchronized Elephant Population Estimation 2017 Report by India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Nagaland has an elephant population of 446 and elephant density/km² of 0.45 which is the second highest density/km² after Karnataka.
Due to increasing reports of incidences of Human-Elephant Conflict, a joint assessment was carried out in April 2018 by the District Level Committee for assessment of the loss of human life, domestic animals, crops and properties by wild animals for compensation in the District.
The assessment showed that this year alone, 165 families belonging to eight villages of New Changsu, Ekhoyan, Old and New Riphyim, Wokha village, New Wokha, Seleku and Koio were badly affected by the presence of elephants in these areas and fields, the report informed.
The crops or property damaged were paddy, banana, pineapple, orange, sugarcane, vegetables, yongchak, betel nut, rubber, papaya, jackfruit, granary, farm huts, piggery, poultry, etc. amounting to more than Rs. 17 (Seventeen) lakh which could only be partially reimbursed by the wildlife wing of the Forest Department this year.
The most recent reports of Human-Elephant Conflict in the month of June and July 2018 is from the villages of Old Riphyim, New Riphyim, Old Changsu and Mungya affecting 97 farmers and the GMS building at Mungya which have been verified by the Department, it added. The crops and property damaged included paddy fields, vegetables, banana, farm huts, rubber, etc.
The report stated that with an ever-increasing human population leading to increasing fragmentation of habitat for the elephants, incidences of human injury or deaths, crop raids, poaching/hunting of elephants will only increase.
Wokha District has a total geographical of only 1628 sq. km and supports a staggering 150-180 number of elephants all over the district. It not only indicates a bleak future for the farmers and rubber cultivators but also for the survival of these heritage animals in Wokha unless these issues are seriously addressed, it added.