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Reinventing the Challenges and Opportunities in the Fringe Area of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary of Assam

A. Borgohain, Leema Bora, K.K. Saharia, P. Hazarika and M.N. Ray

Abstract

The study was initiated in the fringe villages of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary located in the Morigaon district of Assam to understand the dependence of the fringe area dwellers in the forest resources, the benefits of being near the sanctuary, constraints faced by them in pursuing a livelihood and their expectations from the Govt departments in solving their problems. Majority of the respondents practised agriculture and livestock farming as their primary occupation and had medium level of income per month from livestock as well as other sources like agriculture, working as labourer etc. Though the forest department has imposed a ban, they are habituated in using forest products, more particularly firewood, fodder and house building material for self subsistence and income generation. They agreed that because of their vicinity to the sanctuary transport and communication systems have developed and they have been exposed to environmental and conservation issues. Their society witnessed social changes in terms of hygiene and sanitation, strengthening of the traditional haat or markets, gaining employment under the tourism and forest departments. However, the havoc created by wild animals was observed to be far more destructive then the benefits obtained by residing near the sanctuary. The human animal conflict resulted in many fold loss to the people accounting to human casualty (ranked I in the list of constraints) followed by crop damage by large herbivours (ranked II) and houses damaged by large wild animals (ranked III). They revealed that proper demarcation of the sanctuary boundary, creation of high embankment in flood prone areas and diversification of their income sources could be helpful in reducing the man- animal conflict and their dependency in the forest for survival

Keyword: Pobitora wildlife sanctua

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