Assam: Signboards to warn of elephant movements put up in sensitive areas

Jan 14, 2024

Guwahati (Assam) [India], January 14 : To mitigate human-elephant conflict (HEC) and avoid instances of human casualties, signboards giving warning of elephant movements have been set up in the areas adjoining the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries for the first time in Assam.
Aaranyak, an Assam-based biodiversity conservation group, has put up 12 signboards at strategic locations in the Udalguri, Tamulpur, and Baksa districts to ensure the safe passage of wildlife and people across busy roads. The districts are in the Bodoland Territorial Region bordering Bhutan.

Such signboards on the roads alerting people about possible presence of wild elephants moving around in the area, are expected to go a long way in mitigating the conflict and saving precious lives.
Realising the importance of use of such signboards, the region's premier biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak in tune with its commitment for mitigation of HEC has initiated installation of signboards at strategic locations to warn people about movement of wild elephants.
As a first step of this initiative, the conservation NGO, has put up 12 signboards in Udalguri, Tamulpur and Baksa districts of Assam for ensuring safe passage of wildlife as well as people across busy roads.

"The signboards highlight the elephant's presence in the area, and how we all must be careful to avoid unwanted encounters with elephants, and improve safety for both people and elephants. This also serves as a means of awareness and how to share space. For wider reach, we have currently installed signages in English, Assamese and Hindi languages," said Dr Bibhuti Prasad Lahkar, senior conservation scientist in Aaranyak.
The boards currently stand along the roadside of Paneri Tea Garden, Bhooteachang Tea Garden, Orangajuli, Nagrijuli, Kumarikata, Khairani, Uttarkuchi and Subankhata.
"These strategic locations were selected with prior consultation with the local people, forest personnel and tea garden authorities, followed by a survey to understand the feasibility of installation. We are grateful to SBI Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for the extended support," said Dr Alolika Sinha, wildlife biologist who has been associated with HEC mitigation and facilitation of coexistence efforts of Aaranyak.
Human-animal conflict, also known as human-wildlife conflict (HWC), is when interactions between humans and wildlife have negative consequences. These consequences can include loss of property, livelihoods, life and can have negative effects on human social, economic, or cultural life. It can also have negative effects on wildlife conservation as well as the environment.