Conflict between humans and wild animals isn't new. When it comes to big animals like elephants, it is often hard to strike a balance between wildlife conservation and protecting livelihood of villagers whose fields are often destroyed by wild elephants in many parts of India.
As a solution to this problem, Jharkhand Government has decided to set up 'Haathi Mitra Dal' which can roughly be translated to 'Friends of Elephants'. The groups will be set up on panchayat level in 10 districts of Jhatkhand where wild elephants often trouble villagers.
What will this group do?
Each team will consist of 4 to 5 persons who will be specially trained to control elephants in a way that is not intrusive to the animal but also keeps them from causing trouble for the villagers.
Haathi Mitra Dal will be set up under the Forest Department. The members will, very carefully, follow groups of wild elephants while being in contact with the forest department officials. As movement of the elephants will be tracked, the information will be relayed back to the Forest Department who will update it on its website. This will help villagers in the area greatly as they will quickly be able to take precautionary measures in case a group of elephants is headed their way.
Haathi Mitra Dal will not mean to capture the elephants but it will be set up to eliminate man, animal conflict. As it will help villagers escape the wrath of elephants, it will also stop them from provoking the animal. In case elephants become aggressive, it is planned that Haathi Mitra Dal will play a recording of buzzing of honey bees.
Setting up such groups has helped states of Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.
Jharkhand government will set up Haathi Mitra Dals in districts like Saraikela, Singhbhoom, Chaibasa, Ranchi and others where wild elephants are wreaking havoc and falling prey to traps set up by the villagers.
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