Chester Zoo
Darwin Initiative

Chilli plant
Electric fence construction
Electric fence
Cartoons courtesy of Alan Hesse

Demonstration Plot, Nichinta (October 2008 - present) _ __
A 0.25ha area of land in Nichinta is being managed for cash crop cultivation by a local self-help group. The aim is to further demonstrate the option for alternative and high cash return crops. The plot currently contains more than 160 chilli plants, which have all established well and are producing fruit. Later this year it is planned to increase the number of chilli plants, with plants supplied from an AHP chilli nursery in Sonitpur.

Extension of monitoring area at both study sites: ______
Both our monitoring areas were expanded gradually during 2008 from 500km2 to 1250km2.The additional study areas were selected in recognition of their importance to augment the information on elephant movement and HEC that has been previously collected. Additional monitored areas include areas adjacent to National Parks. The expanded study site now also includes areas that are monitored ad-hoc, due to difficult terrain or encroached forest habitat.

Electric fencing installed and working well (December 2007 - present):
A 2km long electric fence was installed at Rupajuli village (Sonitpur) benefiting 504 households. The local community contributed labour and wooden posts and a local tea estate donated wire for the fence. The ownership and responsibility for the fence remains with the local people, and 20 villagers have received training in electric fence maintenance. Since the installation of the fence, the villagers lives have been transformed - there have been no crop raiding incidents which has enabled farmers to return to their fields and paddy production has trebled. Farmers have even had surplus crops which they have been able to sell for additional income.

Sad News from Assam (December 2007)
On 15th December Dibakar Baruah, Sonitpur Field Site Coordinator, and one of the founding members of the AHP field teams, died in a tragic road accident near his home in Sonitpur, Assam. He had helped to build the project and worked tirelessly with those communities worst-affected by elephants and had begun to make real progress in re-building their tolerance and respect for these animals. His dedication, patience and hard work were exemplary and brought great hope to the communities struggling to co-exist with elephants. He is very much missed by all of his colleagues in Assam and at Chester Zoo.

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