The most important factor contributing to the rapid shrinkage of forest & freshwater resources and simultaneous extermination & endangerment of many species across the glob is the ever increasing anthropogenic activity. Overexploitation of forest resources for livelihoods supports by the economically weaker section of the people is because of lack of alternative livelihood opportunities. So, there is urgent need to support these economically weaker section of the people for their all round development and bring them to a comfortable level in the society and thereby to protect the pristine forests.
Since we started in 1992, Dolphin Foundation has worked with economically weaker section of the people of the northeastern region of the India, mainly in the forest fringe areas, for their socio-economic development thus decreasing their dependence on the forest resources.
The Communities and Conservation Program is an integrated plan of the Species Conservation Program of Dolphin Foundation. The major activities so far been carried out under this program are –
Survey and profiling of the socio-economic status of the people living the river bank villages of Kulsi, a river of Ganges River Dolphin importance, and extent of their dependence on the resources of Kulsi.
Rehabilitation program for the fisherman communities involved in River Dolphin-oil-bait fishing in Dhubri & Goalpara District of Assam.
Survey and profiling of the socio-economic status of the people living in the fringe areas of Manas National Park.
Profiling of the family and public health facilities specially – Public Health Centers/hospitals, drinking water source, public toilet etc. in the fringe areas of Manas National Park & Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
Study and profiling of the community intephase with Manas Tiger Reserve.
Profiling of forest dependent livelihoods of fringe villagers on Manas.
Study and profiling about the level of Wildlife Awareness among the fringe villagers of PAs of Assam.
Attitudinal Survey among the fringe villagers about the need of conservation.
Awareness & education campaign as routine activities in the fringe areas of PAs.
Development of Awareness Materials for the fringe village communities on the need of conservation.
Environment Education Camps in the fringe village schools of PAs.
Capacity Building program for the fringe villagers of PAs.
Ø Training Program for fringe village youths on various conservation measures.
Ø Teachers Training Workshop for primary school teachers.
Ø Training on advance handloom operation for fringe village women.
Wildlife Awareness Status(WAS) survey among the fringe village school children under Manas National Park and Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
Promotion of sustainable livelihoods for the forest dependent people in the fringe villages of Manas. (Handloom development, promotion of community forests, promotion of indigenous Sericulture etc.)
Educational Infrastructure development program in the fringe village schools under Manas.
Supporting local people affected by Rhino depredation by providing torch lights, batteries etc.
Extensive study on the human- elephant conflicts in the fringe areas of western part of Manas National Park for developing a strategy to control the problem.
Development and execution of an effective anti-depredation strategy (Elephant Raid Prevention System) in the fringe villages affected by elephant depredation.
- Formation of anti-depredation groups in the affected fringe villages.
- Anti-depredation groups were given necessary training on various methods of anti-depredation procedures involving experts.
- Anti-depredation groups have been regularly provided with the necessary equipments like dragon lights, sounding devices etc.
Small-scale community support program for the affected fringe villagers for creating goodwill and thereby to get them onboard the elephant conservation program – Installation of solar street lamps in the affected fringe villages.
Greening of the peripheral non-forest fringe areas of Manas by promoting tree plantation (Promotion of Community Forest), thereby to decrease the pressure of firewood and logwood off the elephant habitat of the Park.
Ø Donation of seedlings of commercially important and fast growing species to the interested fringe villagers for plantation in their unused personal land.
Ø Plantation of fast growing tree species in the unused public lands in the fringe village areas.