It’s a relatively poor village situated on the edge of the Manas biosphere reserve, an area that elephants come to raid for the tempting crops and granaries. But, thanks to our project human-elephant conflict has all but ceased here.
However it was a very different story before we started working with the people of Chourang; the village suffered crop loss and building damage throughout much of the year.
The village is made up of just 153 families. It’s now protected by a 6km long electric fence and their crops are protected with spotlights donated by us. Both villagers and elephants are a lot safer. Elephants are directed back into the forest in a controlled and well managed way and people can sleep at night without the fear of elephants entering their village.
The key to the success of this project is actually the community organisation and involvement. Training has been provided to the villagers and before the electric fence was installed several meetings between the project staff and the villagers were held to ensure that they had the skills to make it work. The electric fence is maintained by a well managed rota, and a monthly contribution from all villagers of 10 rupees (about 15p) ensures funds are always available for any maintenance costs.
It was great for me to see the difference that our project has had in Chourang and that we have given them the equipment and skills to keep both themselves and the elephants safe. And it’s working – there’s almost no conflict between the people of Chourang and the elephants.
I am Scott Wilson and I Act for Wildlife.