The Corbett Foundation, Kaziranga Chapter in association with the Kaziranga National Park authorities celebrated World Elephant Day at Bokakhat today. World Elephant Day is an international annual event dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world's elephants. The first World Elephant Day was held on August 12, 2012. Assam is home to over 5000 wild elephants.
The event was organised in front of Bokakhat Natya Mandir where eminent artists of Kaziranga landscape demonstrated their skills and imagination with brush on canvases as large as 4 ft x16 ft on issues like poaching for tusks, habitat loss and deforestation.
Dr. Naveen Pandey, a conservation medicine professional and Deputy Director of TCF informed that the main purpose of the display of artwork was to spread awareness on the need for conservation and protection of pachyderms in the state.
Park officials and eminent personalities of Bokakhat town including students from schools, colleges, art schools, wildlife enthusiasts and villagers from the nearby villages who witness frequent man-elephant conflict were present during the celebration.
Flyers containing information on elephant and its ecological importance were distributed among the visitors along with interesting facts and statistics on elephants. Various dimensions of man-elephant conflict including its causes, costs involved and mitigation measures were discussed during the event. Documentaries on the conservation issues of wild elephants were also screened and discussed.
The Corbett Foundation has placed high importance to man-elephant conflict mitigation in Kaziranga. It has made 39 watch towers (locally called tongis) to support the farmers in guarding their crop lands. The tongis have been provisioned with powerful flash lighting systems which can even charge mobile phones. A solar powered fence, 9 km in length, has been built in Silghat area by TCF. In areas where elephants move quite often, TCF recommends removable solar powered fence which are dismantled after the harvest season. TCF has also built a 4 km long solar powered fence in Burapahar Range of the Kaziranga National Park which is seasonal. This way, elephant movements are not blocked across landscape. The approach has been well appreciated by the park authorities. The situation however, also calls for site specific measures for mitigating man-elephant conflict according to Pandey.