Assam Govt Launch Anti Depredation Squads To Deal With Man-Animal Conflict
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday, December 5, launched 15 Anti-Depredation Squads of the State Forest department to deal with human-wildlife conflicts in the state.
The squads will operate in 15 major human-wildlife conflict districts to ensure the safety of both humans and wildlife. The state forest department has engaged specially trained 50 frontline staff while 100 more will be trained in the coming days.
The forest department has also provided the staff with 150 numbers of 12 bore pump action guns, 15,000 rounds of rubber bullets and two vehicles to each squad, to deal with any conflict situation. The weapons were distributed to the squads by the CM during the launch in Guwahati.
“On the occasion, the CM distributed arms with rubber bullets, kits, fog lights, etc. to the Anti-Depredation Squad members and flagged off the vehicles provided to the Squads,” the Assam Chief Minister’s Office tweeted on Thursday.
On the occasion, the CM distributed arms with rubber bullets, kits, fog lights etc. to the Anti-Depredation Squad members and flagged off the vehicles provided to the Squads. pic.twitter.com/VGacMAmXYR
— Chief Minister Assam (@CMOfficeAssam) December 5, 2019
“Loss of lives of both humans and animals is unwarranted and the squads must spread awareness about avoiding man-animal conflicts,” Sonowal was quoted by India Today.
“Peaceful coexistence is a must for man and animals and squads would be a great addition to the forest department in order to reduce casualties in conflict situations,” the CM added.
The CM also urged people to cooperate with the squads for spreading awareness about animal behaviour. He also stressed on the need to completely reduce the man-wildlife conflict to avoid any casualties.
Assam Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, also present at the launch said, “Sixty-three people have died in human-elephant conflicts in the state this year so far and 62 wild elephants also lost their lives. The Assam chief minister has directed me to take appropriate measures to mitigate the problem.”
Around 761 humans and 249 elephants dead in the state since 2010, man-elephant conflict is common in Assam. According to data released by the Assam government in the State Assembly in February 2019, the number of human deaths have increased from 61 in 2010 to 92 in 2018. From 25 elephant deaths in 2010, the number increased to 46 in 2017 and 27 in 2018.