03 19/03/2012

Changing Lives in Assam, India

  • Elephants

Recently I was out in Assam visiting The Assam Haathi Elephant Project.

Whilst there I visited some of the villages that we work with and saw first-hand how alternative livelihood initiatives like our Act for Wildlife ‘Buy a Hen’ campaign are making a difference.

Alternative livelihoods form part of our overall project to help save Asian Elephants and are an essential ingredient of its success. It allows the villagers to be less reliant on the crops that elephants eat.

Whilst in Assam I saw several successful ideas. In Hatigaon (which translates as elephant village) they are growing bamboo successfully thanks to the village now being protected by an electric fence.

One village is also selling the bark from the Betel nut trees (this is something most villages have) and these can be pressed into biodegradable bowls and plates.

The ‘Buy a Hen’ or ('Hen can Change Man project' as they call it locally) continues, and there are thoughts that this could be expanded to work with pigs.

Schemes like this help build a great relationship between the project and the villagers, and work towards a sustainable solution to human-elephant conflict.

Hen can change a man project - Chester Zoo

And because we’re working in partnership with Ecosystems-India and have great staff like Joydeep working directly with the villagers, I know that when I return to the UK, the work will continue.

Thanks to this project we’re giving people the knowledge, tools and skills to live alongside elephants and we’re helping them to develop ways of providing for their families in a sustainable and safe way.

If you’d like to get involved and support our project, Buy a Hen this Easter or sponsor the project. And don’t forget to sign up to the e-newsletter.

I’m Scott Wilson, Conservation Officer and I Act for Wildlife.

Help us save elephants this Easter - Act for Wildlife