Nov 18: As the elephants destroying houses in villages increase in recent years, Nature Conservation Division (NCD) and World Wildlife Fund concluded a three-day workshop to understand the movement patterns of elephants, their numbers and interactions with human beings in Phuentsholing recently.
The aim was to educate field staff to conduct census of elephants so that it is easy to understand the complex interaction between humans and elephants, minimize the destruction they do and conserve endangered elephants.
Biggest constraint in implementing strategies is lack of funding. In 1997, the population of elephants in the country was estimated between 700-800. This figure however has not been confirmed nor updated. NCD uses solar and electric fencings and equipping staff with guns for blank firing as mitigation measures.
Disruption of traditional migratory routes due is one of the main causes for the rising number of human-elephant conflicts. According to records with NCD, wild elephants destroyed about 132 acres of land in 2007 alone. The worst recorded was in 2005, when about 265 acres of cropland in seven block of Sarpang was destroyed. Crops damaged by elephants include maize, paddy, millet, banana, and nut trees.