New Delhi: India is home to approximately around 27,000 Asian Elephants which is the world’s largest population of this rare species. 

However, as human populations have grown and elephant habitats have been altered by development, human-elephant conflict (HEC) has resulted in unfortunate and tragic outcomes for both people and elephants. 

To help solve the problem, a guidebook -Field Manual for Managing Human-Elephant Conflicts in India- -for the forest staff dealing with Human-Elephant conflict has been launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) along with the Wildlife Institute of India (WWI) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF India).

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Ramesh Pandey, IG, Project Elephant at the launch event said, “Human-Elephant conflict is an area where we need to collaborate with all the stakeholders to save lives of both humans and elephants. The efforts to bring out the field manual with WWF India and WII is such an endeavour, which I am sure will be a good tool for field officials to use in mitigating different HEC situations.”

“WWF India, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Project Elephant have compiled the field manual for Managing Human-Elephant Conflict with details of best practices for minimizing human-elephant conflict. This document is drafted to provide forest officials/departments and other stakeholders with guidance towards interventions to help mitigate Human-Elephant Conflict, both in emergencies and when conflict poses a recurring challenge”, said Ravi Singh, Secretary-General and CEO, WWF India.

He further added,” The field manual specifies the conditions under which forest officials and their teams should consider various interventions and is a living document that will incorporate on-field experiences from time to time. This manual is a result of years of field experience and efforts that our teams have gained to help both affected communities and elephants.”

The Field Manual for Managing Human-Elephant Conflict is said to be an important step in this direction and is intended to be a ready resource for those working to foster human-elephant harmony across the country. 

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If implemented well, the Field Manual promises to help save lives, protect property, and promote the well-being of both humans and elephants. 

With this first version of the Field Manual published, WWF India said it intends to work towards its widespread implementation through translations and training of Forest Department staff. 

The HEC Field Manual is also intended to be a living document, revised and redeployed every 2-3 years based on the latest insights in conflict management. Working together, WWF India and their partners hope to bolster India’s well-deserved reputation as a global leader in wildlife conservation. 

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