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The Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) throughout its native range are often caught in the crossfire of the shrinking habitats and ever- increasing human population. The story is no different in Assam. Assam is one of the strongholds of the Asian elephants in the Indian subcontinent; nonetheless of late the state has also emerged as one of the human-elephant conflict (HEC) hotspots, where both the species are bearing the brunt. In the last 10 years, around 812 people and more than 300 elephants died across the state because of HEC. There has been an increase in both the intensity and frequency of HEC in Assam. The rise in HEC is gradually affecting the traditional cultural reverence towards the species, which can undermine the conservation efforts. The situation is alarming and warrants urgent action-based conservation approach and involvement of local communities to ensure long-term conservation of the elephants. Aaranyak with support from various government and non-government agencies is working relentlessly for the last two decades in the region to ensure human elephant coexistence, which is fueling hope for elephant conservation.
Humans and wild Asian elephants are dying in equal numbers as the Human-Elephant Conflicts (HEC) across Assam has worsened in the past few years. Fueled by a combination of a population boom and poverty, man has expanded his frontiers, while animals have found their jungles shrinking. Experts, however, point out that the increasing number of deaths of both human beings and wild elephant is worrisome but the approach adopted by the concerned authorities is fueling hope for both elephant and human population.
In this section, we have attempted to create a database and provide an updated information on human and elephant mortalities caused due to human-elephant conflict in Assam, sourced from first-hand information from the ground, secondary sources such as reports, and news-articles.
Some media coverage featuring Aaranyak’s work: