To Reduce Human Elephant Conflict in Rangamati Forest Circle

 

Community Based Conflict Mitigation (CCM) methods are important “first line of defence” to ensure long-term Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) mitigation needs to be adapted by all levels of stakeholders involved in this issues. The major objectives of this proposed project are to develop a low cost, effective, and locally adaptable detection & deterrence technique for CCM systems; to build up the capacity of local communities with other relevant stakeholders within a CCM system  through a series of training at Community Based Training Centres (CTC) ensuring the proper application and monitoring of newly modified deterrence techniques in the field to deter wild elephants; and to conduct a series of advocacy programmes to develop linkages between the vulnerable communities, governmental agencies and non-governmental organisations. The work required attaining the objectives outlined above fall into five work packages: project coordination and management (WP-1), action oriented pilot research (WP-2), training programmes through CTC (WP-3), communication between stakeholders (WP-4) and annual evaluation of project performance (WP-5). The collaboration has been formed specifically to design and implement the project described in this proposal. The project will be launched in an introductory workshop at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh at the beginning of the project period, where all participants in the project will take part in the finalization of the Detailed Work Plan (DWP) to achieve the milestones of the project (WP-1). The project will identify the HEC conflict zone(s) from secondary sources and assess the efficacy of the existing methods in field, which have been practiced in the CCM system in order to develop a more effective deterrence technique ensuring a better performance of CCM systems to reduce HEC in the study locations (WP-2). A series of training programmes under CTC will be carried out following the training manual on newly developed deterrence techniques under WP-2. This is necessary in order to develop experts at local level to ensure its well adaptability by the local society and implementation in the field (WP-3). The project will initiate and maintain a close dialogue with local communities, traditional authorities, park authorities and NGOs under an advocacy scheme to ensure an effective coordination between different stakeholders relevant to reduce HEC through CCM systems (WP-4). A periodical discussion session will be organized between the project partners for project review, interaction between personnel and exchange of data and other information (WP-1). We will investigate the detection capacity of villagers when wild elephants enter their fields and will assess the efficiency of methods used in field to deter the elephants by using standard methodology and all necessary information will be collected through conducting a series of meetings with local communities by using Participatory Rapid Appraisals (PRA) (WP-2). Based on the findings on WP-2, a readable, understandable and cost-effective training manual will be developed in Bengali and English with essential graphics under a joint initiative of the project partners (WP-3). Meetings and consultations will take place throughout the project period with governmental and NGO representatives at local, regional and national level under a broad advocacy programme. This will sustain the CTC with local communities at the end after phasing out of the project (WP-4). The project will develop an ‘Evaluation Cell’, which includes scientists, development workers, and representative from government, NGOs and local communality to assess the annual performance of the project (WP-5). Tolerance of local communities towards conservation of elephants will be developed as a cumulative result of project activities. All activities will be carried out under a joint initiative by the BISAP and the Bangladesh Forest Department. Dr. A. H. M. Raihan Sarker is the Principle Investigator, while Mr. S. M. Golam Mowla, Divisional Forest Officer, Bangladesh Forest Department and S.M. Tareque Jabed, Bangladesh Integrated Social Advancement Programme (BISAP) are the Co-Investigators of the proposed project. The total budget of the proposed project is about US$ 10,000 for overall implementation of the project.

Project rationale

Human-Elephant Conflict in Bangladesh is a complex and pervasive problem that occurs throughout the range of the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) at the southeastern part of the country wherever elephants and people share the same habitat, often competing for the same resources. HEC is therefore, recognized as a major threat to the long-term survival of the 185 Indian wild elephants in the south-eastern part of the country and comprises two forest circles: Chittagong and Rangamati. Building tolerance of local communities towards conservation of elephants through reducing crop loss by using well effective deterrence technique may improve political support for wildlife conservation

Project Goals and Objectives

 The major objectives of this proposed project are to:

 

  • Develop a low cost, effective, and locally adaptable detection & deterrence technique for CCM systems (Action oriented pilot research);
  • Build up the capacity of local communities with other relevant stakeholders in a CCM system  through a series of training programmes ensuring the proper application and monitoring of newly modified deterrence techniques in the field to deter wild elephants (Training programme through CTC); and
  • Conduct a series of advocacy programmes to develop linkages between vulnerable communities, governmental agencies and non-governmental organisations (Communication between stakeholders).