Wildlife Corridors in India
The World Land Trust (WLT) is working with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to safe-guard traditional elephant routes as corridors where the elephants can move safely between National Parks and other protected areas.
So far the Siju-Rewak Corridor in the north-east has been protected, and a second, the Tirunelli-Kudrakote Corridor in the south is nearing completion.
The Siju-Rewak Corridor, located in the Garo Hills, protects an important population (thought to be approximately 20% of all the elephants that survive in the country), by addressing the problem of forest fragmentation which is a serious threat to the elephants' survival.
This corridor project links together the Siju Wildlife Sanctuary and the Rewak Reserve Forest in Meghalaya State, close to the India-Bangladesh border. This area lies within the meeting place of the Himalayan Mountain Range and the Indian Peninsula and contains at least 139 other species of mammal, including Tiger, Clouded Leopard and the Himalayan Black Bear.
What is particularly important about the area of forest that WLT is protecting, is that it contains one of only four crossing points for elephants along the Simsang River, the length of which almost divides the Garo Hills in two. Most of the river has steep rocky sides, which are impossible for an elephant to manoeuvre. In contrast, the Elephant Corridor has gentle sandy beaches on both sides of the river, where elephants can cross easily.
Following the success of the Siju-Rewak Elephant Corridor in Meghalaya State, the WLT and its partner organisation the Wildlife Trust of India turned their attention to a second corridor site, this time in Kerala State in Southern India. The area is one of 88 corridors identified by the WTI as traditional routes for elephants to move between forest areas. The site is 6km by approximately 1.5km and will connect the Tirunelli and Kudrakote Reserve Forests. This will provide the elephants with a safe corridor between major Wildlife Sanctuaries in the region.
The region is home to India’s largest elephant population and also contains a number of other mammal species, including the Tiger and the Gaur. The region is a global biodiversity hotspot, supporting 10 endemic mammal species (including the Salim Ali fruit bat and the Nilgiri tahr - a type of goat), 13 endemic bird species (including the Malabar parakeet), and more than 50% of the tree species are endemic to the region.
There are currently a number of villages and tribes living within the corridor area, but they have all expressed a wish to move out of the area due to high levels of human-animal conflict. Therefore, the main goal of this project is to acquire the land within the corridor and provide the current inhabitants with more suitable sites to relocate to. The aim of this initiative is to reduce the level of human-animal conflict within the region and to provide the elephants and other wildlife with protection. The project will also benefit the villagers by moving them to areas with less conflict and by organising workshops to assist them in developing sustainable livelihoods.
This corridor will be registered as a Reserve Forest which will provide it with legal protection. Areas will then be planted as necessary to create an entire forest corridor and monitoring will take place to assess the wildlife that use the corridor.
More Information on the Elephant Corridor Project
To learn more about the elephant corridor project, see the main project page: Indian Elephant Corridors Appeal
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