CAUSES OF MAN-ELEPHANT CONFLICTS AND ITS IMPACT ON LIVELIHOOD IN FRINGE VILLAGES OF MOMAN RESERVE FOREST, KAMRUP DISTRICT, ASSAM, INDIAMeghna Das and Gogoi Barnali
In India about 60 per cent of wild Asian Elephants are found. Elephants have a very significant and respected position in Indian societies since ancient periods. For the protection of this mammal the government of India has adopted the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (Schedule I and Part I), 1972. Inspite of such protection and value of this animal in Indian culture, human- elephant conflict is found to be common in India and is increasing in recent times. Due to rapid growth of human population and subsequent reduction of natural habitat this problem has become more acute. Within a span of 10 years, 1991-1999 elephant habitat of over 3000 km2 was lost from North-east India (Baskaran et al., 2011). Moreover, there is an increase in the total elephant population of Assam from 5,246 to 5,719 in 2002 â 2017(Government of Assam, 2017). The fringe areas of Moman Reserve forest, located at southern part of Kamrup district of Assam face the same problem. The main economic activity of these fringe villages is rice cultivation which is adversely affected during the harvesting season due to the herds of elephants coming in search of food. This has immense impact on the livelihood of the villagers. This study is an attempt to find the specific causes of the problem in the area and to search for a sustainable management approach to the problem. To assess the habitat loss satellite imageries of Landsat 2, Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 for the years 1977, 2000 and 2019 respectively are being processed in ERDAS Imagine software. Primary household survey using random sampling technique is being conducted in 50 households in Moman, Sijubari, Jarapara and Pakharapara to find the beginning, frequency and extent of damage of the conflict and its impact on their livelihood. Secondary data are also collected from different sources like government records, reports, websites, etc. There is loss of human life, public and private properties and huge crop loss every year in the study area.