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Business News/ News / India/  Meghalaya's human-elephant conflict-hit villages install solar lights; here's why
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Meghalaya's human-elephant conflict-hit villages install solar lights; here's why

Aaranyak, a biodiversity conservation organisation in India, has installed 10 solar street lights in villages to prevent human-elephant conflicts. The lights will help increase visibility and reduce the risk of confrontations between humans and elephants at night.

Aaranyak has installed 10 solar street lights in villages to prevent human-elephant conflictsPremium
Aaranyak has installed 10 solar street lights in villages to prevent human-elephant conflicts

Aaranyak, one of India's leading biodiversity conservation organisations, has recently installed 10 solar street lights in seven villages located in the West Garo Hills district. These villages have been identified as human-elephant conflict (HEC) areas.

The installation of solar lights in Borogobal, Photamati, Kharsengdap, Bondukmali, Darengsigre, Bordubi, and Jamdangre villages aims to address the issue of unwarranted face-offs between wild elephants and humans, which often occur in the darkness of the night. These face-offs contribute to the escalation of human-elephant conflicts in the region, reported ANI.

In a statement, Aranyaks said ,"Unwarranted face-offs between wild elephants and human beings, which may turn fatal." 

The organisation highlighted the significance of installing solar street lights in areas prone to human-elephant conflicts (HEC). They pointed out that these conflicts often occur in HEC hotspots during the dark hours of the night and can result in fatal outcomes. Such incidents further exacerbate the HEC situation in a given area. Solar street lights offer an effective solution to prevent these unwarranted face-offs between wild elephants and humans, thereby contributing to the mitigation of conflicts. 

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The installation locations were identified based on elephant movement patterns, and the villages are inhabited by indigenous communities such as Garo, Rabha, Bodo, and others.

Dr. Bibhuti Prasad Lahkar, Senior Conservation Scientist from Aaranyak, emphasised the importance of solar street lights in mitigating human-elephant conflicts. He said, "Solar Street lights are crucial to mitigating HEC by enhancing visibility and safety at night." 

The lights illuminate paths and roadways, reducing the chances of unexpected encounters between humans and elephants during night-time. Early detection of elephant movements helps residents and drivers take necessary precautions and avoid accidental encounters. "The illumination helps early detection of elephant movements, allowing residents and drivers to take necessary precautions and avoid accidental encounters with the elephant," he added.

The installation process involved the active participation of Village Champions, local community members who raise awareness and promote peaceful coexistence with elephants said Anjan Baruah, a senior Aaranyak official who coordinated the installation. The solar street lights contribute to creating well-lit environments that minimise the risk of conflicts, protecting the lives of both humans and elephants and fostering harmony between communities and wildlife.

The growing human population and the expansion of human settlements into elephant habitats have led to an increase in human-elephant conflicts. Conservation efforts and community engagement play a crucial role in promoting coexistence and protecting these vulnerable animals.

Also read: Amara Raja Infra bags solar project worth $130 million in Bangladesh

The installation of solar lights took place on June 28 which was carried out by Aaranyak's team in collaboration with the Meghalaya Forest Department and the British Asian Trust. The initiative was supported by the Darwin Initiative. Technicians from the streetlight manufacturing company, along with Aaranyak's team comprising Anjan Baruah, Vendo Thedore, Subhas Rabha, Nipul Chakma, and Rupam Gayari, facilitated the installation process.

(With inputs from ANI)

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Published: 02 Jul 2023, 09:48 AM IST
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