The challenge to end human-Elephant conflict in India
Saving lives through the success of the Indian Elephant Corridors appeal by the World Land Trust (WLT)
On a recent trip to India, John Burton (WLT’s CEO) and Rohini Finch (WLT’s chairperson) visited areas where the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has been working with the local community to relocate villagers out of harm’s way. WTI builds up a strong relationship with the local people to ensure that they are happy to move and that their new site has all the facilities they need. On the trip John and Rohini were accompanied by a group of WLT supporters, including model Lily Cole. Lily became involved with the Trust during the Emeralds for Elephants fundraising event in 2010 that successfully raised £80,000 for our conservation work in India. The event was organised in collaboration with Gemfields, an ethical mining company, to raise awareness about the plight of the Asian Elephant. Keen to see what was being achieved through the funds raised, the group visited the southern state of Kerala where WTI is completing its protection of the Tirunelli-Kudrakote Corridor. The area is home to India’s largest Elephant population, as well as many other Endangered mammal species such as the Tiger and Gaur (Indian Bison). Originally there were five villages living within the Tirunelli-Kudrakote Corridor whose residents all wished to move out of the area through fear of the continuous devastation caused by Elephants. By October 2010, four out of five villages had been successfully moved and this year the fifth village will be relocated.
Human – Elephant Conflict
Human-Elephant conflict is a huge problem in some areas of India, destroying livelihood, causing serious injury, and all too often loss of life. The WLT works with partner’s the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to protect traditional Elephant routes, by creating protected corridors where Elephants can move safely between National Parks and other protected areas. This successfully safeguards both the Elephants and the local people. John said: “We tend to think that human-elephant conflicts are instigated by people attacking Elephants, but usually it’s the other way around. This is particularly the case in parts of India where Elephants are revered as Gods, so people simply can’t retaliate or try to protect themselves.”
Although only in its initial stages, WLT is establishing a similar project around the Corbett National Park in the Uttarakhand state. The project has great conservation value as it would extend the Corbett Tiger reserve and provide refuge for Elephants, Tigers, Sambar (deer), Indian Marsh Crocodile, and over 575 species of bird. Human-Elephant conflict in this area is extremely serious and crucially this project aims to protect both the local people and wildlife.
More information about the Indaian Elephant Corridors Appeal
Help support on–going work in India by making a donation to the WLT Indian Elephant Corridors Appeal Watch video clips of wildlife seen on the trip