India’s economy is growing and its burgeoning population currently stands at more than one-and-a-quarter billion. As a consequence, wildlife habitats across the country are shrinking and elephants and other migratory animals are increasingly in conflict with humans.
The Indian Elephant Corridor Appeal aims to a safeguard a network of forest corridors that will enable Indian Elephants and other animals, such as tigers, to move safely between protected areas, avoiding human-wildlife conflict and protecting continuous critical wildlife habitat.
Ensuring the survival of ‘flagship’ species like elephants and tigers requires the protection of the entire habitat, which means that the corridors will also benefit other wildlife.
Other projects in India:
WLT is funding Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to secure strategic areas within identified elephant migration routes to secure wildlife corridors between larger protected areas.
In a country with more than a billion people, it is vital that any conservation initiative involves local communities. The WLT-WTI Elephant Corridors project benefits not only wildlife but also villagers by reducing human-wildlife conflict.
In some wildlife corridors WLT and WTI work to ensure villagers affected by human-wildlife conflict are voluntarily relocated to a new home where they can live safely away from the threat of elephants and tigers.
In other corridors the project also provides finance and expertise to create alternative livelihoods to ‘slash-and burn’ agriculture, which has led to the rapid depletion of natural forests.
So far WTI has identified 88 elephant corridors. These have been prioritised according to their conservation importance and feasibility of protection.To date World Land Trust has helped safeguard two priority corridors - Siju-Rewak Corridor, Meghalaya, and Tirunelli-Kudrakote Corridor, Kerala.
WLT is now supporting the protection of two more corridors: Chilkiya-Kota Corridor in Uttarakhand, northern India, and another in Meghalaya.
WLT currently needs funds to complete two more corridors.
One is in Uttarakhand northern India, in the vicinity of the Corbett National Park protected area, where there is increasing conflict between tigers and humans.
The other is the Rewak-Emangre Corridor in the state of Meghalaya, where WTI is working with local communities in the Garo Hills to designate and safeguard an important elephant route through the forest as a Village Forest Reserve. WTI is also working with local villagers to restore degraded patches of forest through tree planting.
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India is home to 60% of the remaining Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) population making their survival in India critical to the survival of the species as a whole.
Other species protected by these corridors include: Tiger (Panthera tigris), Gaur (Bos gaurus) (Indian Bison), Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and Himalayan Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus).
Habitat loss leading to fragmentation is a serious threat to elephants in India and results in a reduction of natural food resources and escalation of human-elephant conflict.
Reasons for habitat loss include the expansion of agriculture, development, and other human activity encroaching on existing elephant corridors.
Large animals like elephants, need huge areas in which to roam and feed. If protected areas are not large enough, elephants may go outside the area in search of food elsewhere.
This often results in conflicts with humans, when elephants raid or destroy crops and damage people’s houses.
WLT has so far funded the protection of two wildlife corridors, the Siju-Rewak Corridor in Garo Hills, Meghalaya, and the Tirunelli-Kudrakote Corridor in Kerala.
WLT is now raising funds to safeguard another corridor in Garo Hills, Meghalaya, and one in the vicinity of Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand in northern India.
Further information on corridors in Garo Hills, Meghalaya: Siju-Rewak »
Further information on corridors in Kerala: Tirunelli-Kudrakote »