The issue of man-animal conflict went viral in Meghalaya in May during the lockdown period when an endangered Himalayan Black Bear was killed in a trap set by the villagers to deter and prevent the animal from destroying crops and beehives.
This issue raised the debate about safety measures as well as the need to conserve endangered species in the state. As a result, the Outreach Programme Committee of Sankardev College deliberated at length on the aforementioned issue given the recurrent conflict.
The objectives of the awareness is to disseminate information and other relevant knowledge to the Rangbah Shnong, Seng Samla Shnong and village elders on the needs to take care and preserved the diverse flora and fauna which are categorised as endangered species.
Through the awareness programme the Forest and Wildlife Department also shared their knowledge on the measures to be adopted for protecting human safety and their crops.
Recently, the Community Outreach Programme Committee organised a one day awareness programme on the theme “Man Animal Conflict and the Wildlife Protection Act 1972” in Pynursla Civil Sub-Division.
The awareness programme was conducted in collaboration with the District Forest Office Khasi Hills Wildlife Division.
The District Forest Officer, of East Khasi Hills, Anu P James, spoke on the need to conserve the flora and fauna which are endangered and face threat of extinction as their habitat continues to shrink.
She also informed the attendees on the process and steps to be followed for applying relief compensation if their farms or crops are destroyed by wild animals.
Meanwhile, the other resource person, Iowandaka Najiar, Range Officer of Khasi Hills, enlightened the Rangbah Shnong and members of the Seng Samla Shnong who attended the programme on the provisions and sections of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
This programme provided an opportunity for the Rangbah Shnong and its members to air their grievances and problems to the Forest and Wildlife Department which they are facing for years with no solution.
During the interaction it was clear that the main cause of this conflict is primarily the presence of the endangered Himalayan Black Bear, which destroys a variety of cultivation, ranging from fruits, beehives to agricultural crops.