Meluri, June 26 (MExN): As part of the human animal conflict mitigation campaign being conducted across Nagaland, an awareness and interaction with the public programme was conducted by Kiphire Wildlife Division of the Department of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on June 24 at the Dobashi Court Hall of Meluri, Phek district. Velatso, DFO Phek in his welcome address requested the villagers to help and collaborate with the department in gathering data on any sightings of wildlife, any unique flora and fauna so that it can augment the collective knowledge. “Only when we work hand-in-hand is when we can together succeed,” he stated, according to a press release. Meanwhile, the chief guest, Dharmendra Prakash (IFS), Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Planning & Development) applauded the conservation efforts of the public. He also shared his personal experiences and examples of successes and urged the public to share their suggestions at the forum. The programme, the release said, was marked by active participation of the village leaders and the heads who not only shared their suggestions, grievances, but also explained in detail the efforts taken by the villages in the area towards conservation, banning of hunting and reduction of jhum cultivation. The villagers requested for usage of camera traps in the region to identify more fauna species in the region. They also said that conflict between wildlife and humans in this particular region has reduced. Additional inputs were also requested from the department on management of abandoned jhum lands. The participants also acknowledged the efforts of Rongsenlemla (IFS), DFO Kohima (previously DFO Phek). Wildlife Warden Kiphire, Suman WM Sivachar (IFS) also addressed the gathering regarding the position, policies of the State Government and MoEFCC. Owing to the fact that growing human populations are overlapping with wildlife habitats and also sources of food for the wildlife are reducing, human animal conflict is on the rise, he pointed out. The virgin forests of Phek contain flora and fauna that are unique not only to the region but also to the entire world, he added. A total of 110 people including Throtingba, EAC Meluri, Chülekhu, President, Pochury Hoho, Pochury Mothers’ Association, Women Welfare Society Meluri Town, Kenei, Officer-in-charge Meluri, staff from Administration, Police, Forest and allied departments, village leaders from 27 villages, women and children attended the event, which was sponsored by MoEFCC, Government of India, New Delhi. Earlier, the programme was chaired by Seichutho Katiry, Range Forest Officer, Phek Forest Division.