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In 2014, villagers in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills set aside a part of their community-owned land to create village reserve forests, giving right of passage to elephants.
In acknowledgement of that gesture, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Wildlife Trust of India rolled out the ‘Gaj Yatra’ from Tura, the principal town of Garo Hills.
’Gaj Yatra’, a “journey celebrating India’s national heritage animal”, aims at securing 100 elephant corridors across India. Four of these are in Meghalaya, including the Siju-Rewak corridor that some 1,000 elephants use to travel between the Balpakram and Nokrek National Parks in the State.
“The campaign has aptly been launched in the Garo Hills, where the people have created community forests for human-elephant harmony and conservation of animals such as hoolock gibbon,” Vivek Menon, executive director of WTI.