WWF-India aims to secure the elephant and tiger populations of NBL, along with other wildlife for long-term conservation. Some of the ongoing activities are:
Resolving human-elephant conflict (HEC):WWF-India has been implementing a human-elephant conflict mitigation project in Sonitpur since 2004 and another one in Udalguri district since 2010. The activity is carried out in partnership with the forest department, district administration, local NGOs and affected communities. A major intervention was capacity-building of forest officials and communities to minimize HEC by providing logistic and strategic management support. As a result, crop damage as well as the loss of elephants and human lives has decreased over the past five years. In both the districts, villagers have been supported in the formation of anti-depredation squads and awareness programmes are conducted from time-to-time to build positive public opinion in favour of conservation.
A study of the HEC distribution was conducted in three districts of upper Assam in collaboration with a local NGO. The NBL staff is helping to develop a HEC mitigation strategy in TAL, UP and on the Indo-Nepal border areas and has trained local community members of those areas.
Rhino conservation:The Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020) was initiated in 2005 by the Assam State Forest Department with support from WWF and other agencies to increase the population of rhinos and extend their current distribution range. Under the programme, 18 rhinos have been translocated to the Manas National Park (NP) from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaziranga National Park between 2008 and 2012. The translocated rhinos have adapted well to Manas NP and round-the-clock monitoring is carried out to develop better scientific understanding of the released rhinos. WWF is engaging with the communities living on the fringes of Manas NP to garner their support for conservation of the Manas NP. A pilot programme was initiated for the villagers around Manas National Park to reduce their dependence on forests for fuelwood. Support has been extended to enhance protection infrastructure for rhinos in the Manas NP. Plans are in place to prepare the Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) and Burachapori WLS to receive rhino populations.
Tiger conservation:The landscape team has been engaged in tiger monitoring since 2009 using camera traps in collaboration with the state forest department and other stakeholders. Tiger monitoring is being carried out in different Protected Areas of the landscape, including Pakke, Nameri and Manas Tiger Reserves (TR). Monitoring and documentation of tigers, prey base and habitat is being undertaken in Manas Tiger Reserve using camera traps and distance sampling. Human-tiger conflict (HTC) incidents around the Rajiv Gandhi Orang NP are investigated and documented along with forest department officials and an interim relief programme is being supported to reduce retaliatory killing of tigers. Capacity-building for frontline forest staff on tiger monitoring and protection has been taken up to enhance the skills of in-house personnel of the forest department. Logistic support has been extended for critical wildlife habitats of the state (Manas NP, Ripu Reserve Forest (RF), Chirang RF, Chakrashila WLS, Rajiv Gandhi Orang NP, Nameri NP, Sonai Rupai WLS and Laokhowa-Burhachapori WLS).
Working with communities:Engaging with the local communities living on the fringes of wildlife habitats and corridors to raise awareness and create a sense of pride among them towards the wildlife of the area. Efforts are also made to support the people in management of human-wildlife conflicts through non-lethal measures. Pilot social interventions have been initiated for socio-economic development of the fringe village communities in some sites to win the confidence of the people and to maintain the status of corridor use by wild animals.