Dimapur: A workshop on counter wildlife and biodiversity conservation in Wokha district that often witnesses frequent human-elephant conflicts and is increasing by the year called for community involvement in the conservation of wildlife.

Community conservation of biodiversity in Nagaland, issues related to the human-elephant conflict in Wokha, identification of commonly traded species and court procedure were the other major highlights of the workshop.

According to the nationwide Synchronized Elephant Population Estimation 2017, conducted by the union ministry of environment, forests and climate change, Nagaland has an elephant population of 446 and elephant density per square kilometre in the state is 0.45.

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The day-long workshop was organised by the Nagaland Forest Department Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-India and The Nagaland State Biodiversity Board at Tiyi hall in Wokha district headquarters on March 12, official sources said.

Sharing various aspects of community involvement in the conservation of wildlife, Nagaland State Biodiversity Board chairman Satya Prakash Tripathi said to ensure that wildlife management policies are effectively implemented such workshops and training are essential to sensitize the public. He sought cooperation from all sections to work together to conserve our wildlife and environment.

Dev Prakash Bankhwal, team leader, WCS-India, said the primary threat to the survival of wildlife is due to destruction fragmentation and degradation of habitats. He said when the ecosystem changes dramatically by the activities of human beings, wildlife can no longer survive.

Bankhwal advocated that the community needs to create certified wildlife habitat and preservation of forest so that animals can use the water source, food and find a good shelter to survive. Also calling the illegal wildlife trade a very serious offence, he called upon the police and the forest department to work together in enforcing the relevant wildlife acts to control such menace.

Steve Odyuo from Natural Nagas, an environmental conservation organisation, said various human activities result in wildlife decline. He stressed that activities like hunting, illegal mining, poaching illegal use of chemicals in the river, and exploitation of forest resources need to be seriously addressed.

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Wokha additional deputy commissioner Lankonsen T Tsanglao said wild animals have always been a critical resource for human beings.

He added: “Our forefathers had practised hunting since time immemorial as a source of food which were key for their survival but now the age-old practice of hunting should be discouraged and focus on conserving our ecosystem for our present and future generation since many species are getting extinct.”

In the technical session, Rishika Gupta from WCS-India spoke on wildlife crime and law enforcement while Shubhra Sotie, also from WCS-India, dwelled on scheduled animals, wild animals, meat, trophy, uncured trophy, weapons, vehicles, etc. 

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: