The impacts of conflict on nature are devastatingly adverse but differ widely in different socio-political regimes. Armed conflict often facilitates illegal plunder and unsustainable use of natural resources, variously by rebel groups and impoverished or displaced people challenged with limited subsistence options. We studied the response of mammals in Ripu Reserve Forest (Assam) that suffers prolonged anthropogenic pressure due to armed conflict instigated by social unrest. We used standard single-season (spatial-dependence) occupancy models using sign survey to assess the factors affecting the space use of mammals and subsequently build capacity of conservation volunteers for long-term sustenance of Ripu. Our study revealed that Ripu has a high proportion of occupied area by prey species of large carnivores. Asian elephant, barking deer, and wild pig occupied most of the habitat, whereas gaur, sambar and spotted deer restricted themselves to selected patches within the Ripu. Common leopards found to be positively associated with prey occupancy. The studied mammals responded variably to different ecological and anthropological covariates and urge for species-specific management alongside landscape scale conservation approach. Our ground effort to strengthen community patrolling and operational execution of various alternative livelihood has helped to empower the economic condition of patrolling staff. Strategic implementation of law enforcement could support dispersal of tigers from Phibsoo WLS (Bhutan), potentially linked with the larger tiger and elephant landscape far west (Buxa Tiger Reserve) in the Terai region of India. Community-based conservation initiatives required continuous support from various agencies, including national, international, and local bodies, to restore this critical habitat.