Tuesday, July 16, 2024

RRUs in Assam, Meghalaya given field gear to scale up HEC mitigation


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Guwahati, July 1:  Altogether 239 members of Rapid Response Units (RRUs) located across five eastern Assam districts and West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya have been provided with field gear and first-aid kits by premier biodiversity conservation organisation of the region Aaranyak and British Asian Trust with support from Biodiversity Challenge Fund, UK.

The field equipment including raincoats, caps, shoes besides first-aid kits have been  provided to enhance the efficiency of the RRUs during the rainy season in the sustained efforts for mitigation of human elephant conflicts (HEC) in the respective areas assigned to them.

“Aaranyak and British Asian Trust in their effort to mitigate HEC has been working with the local community to empower them. The RRUs are trained to manage HEC-alerts and act as early warning units and have been formed as part of the effort,” said Dr Alolika Sinha, a senior biologist in Aaranyak

RRUs comprising volunteers from HEC-affected villages in Assam and Meghalaya’s Garo Hills Region act as eyes and ears in the sustained efforts for mitigation of the HEC so as to protect lives of both human beings and elephants besides livelihood of villagers as much as possible.

Each of these RRUs networked through close WhatApp groups, promptly propagates messages about the presence of wild elephant herds in the vicinity of any human settlement so that the villagers can take prompt prescribed action to avoid direct confrontation with the herd.

Aaranyak team organised an outreach event in HEC-affected Borogobal village in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya recently (June 23) on mitigation efforts and provided raincoats and first-aid kits to 13 RRU members who attended the event at the Borogobol Village Community centre.

A RRU member of the village Norway Marak has informed that being trained to work for HEC mitigation by being a member of the RRU has been of immense help to serve the affected villagers. “We now know that the best way to protect the lives and property in our Borogobal village from the heard of wild elephants is to clear the path of elephants to facilitate them move freely instead of trying to scare away by bursting fire crackers or lighting fire as villagers used to do earlier and that enraged the elephants,” he said.

Altogether 219 RRU members from six RRU units spread across five districts — Sivasagar, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Majuli – of eastern Assam were provided with field equipment and first-aid kits during June 13 to 26 following consultation workshops with them. Jorhat district has two RRUs while rest four district has one each. There are an average of 50 members in each of these RRUs.

Aaranyak’s team working in the landscape actively participated to facilitate the consultation events along with support from an active volunteer, Rakib Ali and Aaranyak’s village champions.




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