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News

Project update 2011

The project has been working hard in 2011. This update includes news about our progress, mitigation methods, communities and how our education plans are developing.

November 2010: The next phase

Chester Zoo’s Conservation Researcher, Evie Astbury, Education Programmes Manager, Maggie Esson and Nutritionist, Andrea Fidgett, all visited Assam in November in order to initiate the next phase of the project.

Video on how to make a chilli-rope fence produced! (May '10)

Food processing workshop held and participants selling produce! (March '10)
9 participants from 7 Self-help Groups attended a 7-day workshop in Balipara where they learnt to make 11 different types of condiments from local produce, in addition to learning about packaging and pricing.

More than 160 participants attended an incense stick making workshop! (Oct 09)
A workshop was held over 3 days in Sonitpur and participants were taught how to make fine sticks from bamboo which can then be sold to the incense stick industry. UPDATE: participants are continuing to utilize their new skills (May '10).

Handbook released in Assam (July-Sept 2009) Living with Elephants’ has been distributed to a variety of villages, schools and libraries across two districts of Assam. This practical handbook has been launched in an effort to help both humans and elephants co-exist peacefully, it includes illustrated step-by-step guides on how to prevent elephants causing damage to property and crops.

Successful Jute training workshop (August 2009)
A 10-day workshop on Jute craft was held in Balipara, Sonitpur. This was a popular event with 34 women from 14 villages attending. Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads and used to make a variety of handicrafts. Villagers requested a training programme on Jute, as there is a good local market for the products. Livelihoods alternate to farming can help reduce conflict with elephants through reducing the dependency on locally grown crops which are susceptible to elephant depredation and the demand for agricultural land.

Citrus barrier planted in Goalpara (July 2009)
With the support of the AHP, a local association has planted 500 mandarin plants in Goalpara. It has been observed that elephants avoid thorny citrus plants and it is hoped that this citrus hedge will deter elephants as well as providing an alternative source of income. This is a long-term project, with the trees expected to produce fruit in 6 to 7 years, and the barrier to become effective in 2 to 3 years; elephant movement will be monitored in the area to determine if elephants are indeed deterred by citrus.

Another electric fence installed! (January 2009)_______ __
A new electric fence has been installed at the village of Bengkanda (Goalpara). This fence is 3.4km in length and protects 115 acres and 52 households. The local community was central to the installation of the fence; contributing labour, materials and more than £300 for a maintenance fund that they will manage themselves. In keeping with the AHP ethos, ownership lies with the community, and the AHP have provided training and maintenance kits to enable the community to take care of the fence themselves.

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