Guwahati: Experts from the country and various South East Asian nations have stressed on securing elephant corridors legally to ensure a safe passage for the animals across international borders, as well as within the northeast.
At a two-day conclave of elephant experts, conservationists, and green gurus on trans-boundary elephant conservation in the India-Bhutan-Nepal-Myanmar region, which began here on Thursday, the issue of providing legal protection to elephant corridors was voiced strongly by the participants.
Advisor to Wildlife Trust of India, and former ministry of environment and forest’s additional director general (wildlife), Jagdish Kiswan said a major constraint in conserving and protecting elephants is lack of legal protection for the corridors.
He said, without ensuring legal protection of these corridors, conservation of elephants, whose movement spans a large swathe of forest across the international border and within the region, would come to a naught.
“Along with corridors, elephant reserves also need to be legally protected. It is a necessity to ensure that the corridors used by elephants are well-protected,” said Bhutan’s special advisor to the National Environment Commission, Dasho Paljor J Dorji. He advocated reviving the process of securing elephant corridors which pass across the India-Bhutan border from Assam to West Bengal for better movement of elephants between the two countries.
Dorji said the idea of securing jumbo corridors along the border was floated by him in the 1980s. He added that India, along with international agencies, had showed interest in the concept. “But the plan could not go ahead because of political problems which evolved in the late 1980s in Bhutan. I think the idea can be pursued afresh. India and Bhutan should work closely for trans-boundary elephant conservation,” Dorji said.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who attended the meeting in the evening, said his government would look into curbing the rising human-elephant conflict in the state. He said protection of elephant habitats and corridors has become a prerequisite for mitigating the conflict.
WWF-India head Ravi Singh requested Gogoi to help in giving shape to a nodal agency which would coordinate with the external affairs ministry in connection with trans-boundary conservation issues. Gogoi said he would take up the issue with the Centre.
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