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India programme

- Manas - Red Caps

Geographical location

Manas national park in the Assam region, 77 villages on the southern edge of the national park.

Target groups

Farmers living on the edge of the park, groups of women, secondary schools.

Species involved

Asian elephant, one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tiger.

Local partner

Aaranyak

Objectives

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Reduce the number of properties damaged by elephants.

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Reduce the frequency and severity of crop losses caused by wild animals.

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Stop fatal accidents caused by elephants.

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Reduce human pressure on the Manas national park.

Programme timeline

December 2008

Programme creation

Signing of partnership contract with Aaranyak

March 2011

Making of an educational film

Subject: human-wildlife conflicts, shown in many classes

August 2015

Expansion of our surveillance programme

72 watchtowers are in use during the growing season

Context

The Manas National Park is characterised by its incredible biodiversity. In 1968, insurgents from the local Bodo ethnic group started an armed struggle to establish the area as independent state; the  fifteen years of conflict that ensued weakened the ecosystem and local communities alike. Since then, conservation agreements have been signed but the region remains unstable. Furthermore, the villagers, who mainly live hand-to-mouth, are particularly badly affected by damage resulting from conflict with wild animals and have no other recourse but to use natural resources.

A more peaceful coexistence with wildlife

Since 2009, this programme has been dedicated to achieving a more peaceful coexistence between local populations and wildlife, particularly near the inhabited areas that are frequently invaded by elephants. To this end, we organise community-based monitoring systems and give villagers some means to limit such attacks. To reduce their reliance on forest resources, we offer alternative activities, mostly based on our economic microdevelopment programmes. At the same time, we lead awareness-raising campaigns and encourage participants to take action to preserve the biodiversity of their community.

Our most recent actions in the field

  • Reinforcement of community-based surveillance systems, construction of watchtowers, and maintenance of 54 barriers protecting at-risk boundaries between the national park and plantations;

  • Organisation of workshops for training in construction and upkeep of watchtowers;

  • Distribution of solar-powered torches, blankets and mosquito nets, used by farmers during patrols;

  • Development of crops that do not attract elephants, such as lemongrass, mint and chilli, and agricultural training in growing these crops for two Red Caps and seven farmers, who have gone on to share their know-how with 34 other farmers;

  • Launching of economic development micro-programmes, based on mushroom-growing, sewing, and animal-breeding, to reduce dependence on forest resources;

  • Educational actions and discussions with local communities, limiting illegal cattle grazing, which is a key threat to the natural habitat of elephants, rhinoceroses and tigers in the park;

  • Awareness-raising with 650 school children and local-community members, and a 3-day training session for school teachers in the region, who are now spokespeople for protecting biodiversity and resolving human-wildlife conflicts.

More actions

Together let's colaborate to improve the coexistence between the humans and the animals.
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