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Land purchased at relocation site to secure elephant corridor

Sar Kro (Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, Assam), May 29, 2013: Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has purchased over six acres of land to set up a model ethnic Karbi village to facilitate voluntary relocation of all families of Ram Terang village, currently located within the Kalapahar-Doigurung Elephant Corridor. The 19 households will be given additional land for agriculture, subsequently, to minimise their dependence on corridor resources.

Supported by Elephant Family, IUCN – Netherlands and Japan Tiger Elephant Fund (JTEF), this initiative will help secure the corridor used by elephants to move between Kalapahar and Doigurung Nambor Wildlife Sanctuary in the Kaziranga – Karbi Anglong landscape. Securing elephant corridors is a significant component of WTI’s Karbi Anglong Conservation Project which has been assisting the authorities in the autonomous council in wildlife conservation.

An agreement was signed between the Sar Kro village committee and WTI on May 24. Photos: Sheren Shrestha/WTI

The land for relocation was purchased off the nearby Sar Kro village, where the project has been implementing community-based conservation initiatives to reduce dependence on the corridor.

An event was organised on May 24 to sign the agreement for land purchase, between the Sar Kro village committee (Rong Ching Thur, a self help group comprising representatives from all 25 households) and WTI.

Dilip Kro, President of Rong Ching Thur, said, “We are immensely thankful to WTI and its supporters for all that they have done for us – helping us establish the weaving centre, a fisheries unit and other initiatives to help us improve our livelihoods. Even the government has not done so much for us,” signing the agreement on behalf of the village.

Range Officer – Silonijan, Bibison Tokbi, who represented the Karbi Anglong Forest Department, also thanked WTI, Elephant Family, IUCN – NL and JTEF, for these initiatives, stating that these were helping both villagers as well as animals.

The event also saw participation of representatives of the Nilip Sports Association, which has been providing immense help in implementing the project in these remote areas. The project team including lead Anthony Phangcho, Dilip Deori and Borsali Teron were present along with other senior WTI representatives including Dr NVK Ashraf, Dr Rathin Barman, Dr Bhaskar Choudhury among others.

WTI's senior director Dr NVK Ashraf, along with the president and secretary of Rong Ching Thur at the relocation site. Photos: Sheren Shrestha/WTI

Dilip Deori, who is coordinating the securement initiative on ground, said, “We have reached this crucial stage because of the support provided to us by the local people of Ram Terang and Sar Kro villages, and many other individuals and institutions, and we are very grateful to them all. Once Ram Terang village moves out of the corridor, the elephants will find their right of way here and the people will also benefit from reduction in conflicts.”

“Just relocation does not complete the story. We have been scouting nearby areas to purchase agricultural land so that the people do not have to depend on the forest for livelihood. Additionally, this is a beautiful landscape and establishment of ethnic Karbi village can attract tourism and provide additional income in these areas,” Deori added.

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