|Categories||Conflict, Elephants, Mammals|
|Date||9 Oct 2009|
My project over the past year has been very successful, and communities have embraced the opportunity to work together. In villages where it was possible to do visual clearing of land between the villages and the sanctuary, conflicts were either greatly reduced or completely stopped. In villages where clearing was not possible, other methods greatly reduced conflicts with elephants.
I want to build on the accomplishments of the previous 16 months of the project by working with existing 5 communities and additional communities that are clearing bushes and grasses from around the villages to deter elephants entering. I also found two types of activities to be extremely beneficial to the success and sustainability of the project. One is the involvement of sanctuary staff with communities and the other is an education component for school children.
I will train sanctuary staff to integrate them into the process and build their capacity to work with local communities instead of viewing communities as only a threat to the sanctuary. Staff will be able to help communities continue their mitigation plans and share results with additional communities. The involvement of sanctuary staff is critical to good relationship between the sanctuary and local communities and will enable the project to be sustainable when the project no longer has funding. The education activities will be conducted for school children. It has both immediate impacts on parents' knowledge of elephant conservation and mitigation methods, but also builds a constituency for the sanctuary that will last many years.
I will be working with colleagues at the Smithsonian Institution, including Drs. Teri Allendorf, Melissa Songer, and Peter Leimgruber, all of whom have been working in Myanmar on elephant-people issue since 1999. I will also be collaborating with members of the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA), a Myanmar non-governmental organization with many experienced members. The township authorities, warden and staff of Shwe-U-Daung Wildlife Sanctuary, and local staff from Forest Department are eager to support my project.
Read about Khine's previous project http://www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/projects/khine_khine_swe or for more information contact:
Elephant watch tower in field, Khwayhmway village. ©KKS-R.
For lighting in edge of cropland, Dirtkite village. ©KKS-R.
Testing fire creaker & showing elephant trail to village, Kyauk-kwe village. ©KKS-R.