Core committee set up in Madhya Pradesh to mitigate man-elephant conflicts
P Naveen, Times of India
November 20, 2021
Madhya Pradesh government has set up a special committee to study and
recommend solutions for reducing humanelephant conflicts in districts
adjoining Chhattisgarh where presence of more than 100 wild tuskers are
This is a seven-member committee which comprises – state’s chief wildlife
warden, Abhilash Khandekar from state wildlife board, D Sukumar – elephant
management expert from Bangalore, WII member, IIFM representative and field
director Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR). This committee was formed by the
government on recommendation of Abhilash Khandekar, who is also a senior
Committee members would visit various regions where movement of wild
elephants are being reported and meet locals before holding a meeting to
discuss the issue. They would submit recommendations to the state
government for further consideration.
Their first field visit has been scheduled for December 6 and 7. For
farming communities situated around the edge of districts like Anuppur,
Umeria, Dindori, Sidhi and Mandla, elephant crop raiding is a serious
This committee has been assigned with the task of finding solutions to
mitigate these threats. The Central Environment Ministry has also stressed
on the need of capacity building and training of forest staff to the cause
of saving Elephants while working towards robust, practical and cost
effective solutions to end the Human Animal Conflict. Officials say that to
manage conflicts and avoid loss of valuable lives of both the humans &
elephants, it is important to strengthen the human-elephant coexistence.
Notably, Asian elephants are listed as “Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of
threatened species. This has been done most of the range states except
India, have lost their viable elephant populations due to loss of habitats
& poaching etc. The current population estimates indicate that there are
about 50,000 -60,000 Asian elephants in the world. More than 60 % of the
population is held in India.
Various steps are also being taken by the Madhya Pradesh forest department
in collaboration with wildlife trust of India (WTI) to avoid man-elephant
conflicts in the state. People in around 10 villages near Bandhavgarh Tiger
Reserve where wild elephants are moving, are being trained. Awareness
programs are being conducted by WTI under its Elephant Project.
Many wild elephants are moving from within Bandhavgarh between Barmera,
Kaseru, Barwahi, Baghaiya, Kothia, Kushmaha, villages inside Pataur Range
Core and Sejwahi, Gangital and Manpur villages under Sehra, Naugawa ranges.
Volunteers of the elephant project work with the forest department.
Officials say immediate measures were needed to mitigate conflict
situations, especially since the migration of wild elephants to Madhya
Pradesh has increased in the last few years. A herd of around 40 jumbos
came to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve a year ago, reviving an old corridor from
Jharkhand, and have stayed put.
The jumbo death points at the need for an elephant project. On April 2,
2020 three persons, including two women, were trampled to death by a herd
of 12 elephants in Rajendragram of Anuppur district. It was an unexpected
crop raid by elephants. A second attack was reported on April 12, 2020.
More casualties were reported later.