Assam Haathi Project

Together with our partner organisation Ecosystems-India we created the Assam Haathi Project which reduces human-wildlife conflict through community-based interventions and alternative livelihoods.

The forests of Assam in northeast India provide one of the last strongholds for the endangered Asian elephant, but these forests have some of the highest levels of human-elephant conflict in the world.

Research has shown the importance of refuge sites such as forest patches and tea gardens in determining the spatial patterns of human-elephant conflict, as well as identifying critical thresholds of forest loss which lead to escalations in conflict. Deterrent measures such as electric fences, chilli fences and spotlights have been found to be highly effective.

Human-elephant conflict - Chester Zoo

The key to success in human-elephant conflict mitigation, however, lies not just in the efficacy of the damage control methods, but in investing considerable effort into understanding the cultural and socio-political aspects of the current situation. This allows us to work with the communities to improve livelihoods and ensure their participation in individual conservation activities and the entire process of conflict management.

Project partners

Darwin Initiative logo Ecosystems India logo

Key publications

Wilson, S., Davies, T.E., Hazarika, N. & Zimmermann, A. (2013). Understanding Patterns of Human-Elephant Conflict in Assam: An Analysis to Inform Mitigation Strategies. Oryx. 49(01): 140 – 149.

Chartier, L., Zimmermann, A. & Ladle, R.J. (2011). Habitat loss and human–elephant conflict in Assam, India: does a critical threshold exist?. Oryx. 45 (04): 528-533.

Davies, T. E., Wilson, S., Hazarika, N., Chakrabarty, J., Das, D., Hodgson, D. J. and Zimmermann, A. (2011), Effectiveness of intervention methods against crop-raiding elephants. Conservation Letters. 4: 346-354 

Zimmermann, A., Davies, T.E., Hazarika, N., Wilson, S., Chakrabarty, J., Hazarika, B. & Das, DJ. (2009). Community-based human-elephant conflict management in Assam. Gajah. IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group. 30: 34-40. 

Wilson, S., A. Zimmermann, N. Hazarika, J. Chakrabarty, P. Mitra, D.J. Das, B. Hazarika, L. K. Nath, M. Narayanan, D. Barua, P.J. Deka, A. Baruah, & G Narayan. (2009). Living with Elephants in Assam. EcoSystems-India and North of England Zoological Society. Guwahati, Assam, India. Assam Haathi Project. 58pp. Shailesh Art Print, Guwahati, India.

Project team

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Key Facts

We've assisted over 80 villages, reducing crop-raiding & property damage by up to 95%
We've protected 1400 households with community-managed solar electric fences
We've engaged 23 communities and 600 people in new sources of income through sustainable livelihoods

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