Living With Elephants: Conservation of Endangered Asian Elephants and Threatened Corridors through Human-Elephant Interaction Mitigation in West Bengal, India

Living With Elephants: Conservation of Endangered Asian Elephants and Threatened Corridors through Human-Elephant Interaction Mitigation in West Bengal, India

Project Animal(s) : Elephant
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : Asia
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL : https://www.facebook.com/aecfindia
Project is timebound? : Yes

Project Start Date : August 22, 2017

The Endangered Asian Elephants are designated as ‘National Heritage Animal’ of India. Southern West Bengal (henceforth SWB) along with Mayurjharna Elephant Reserve is the only elephant reserve for Eastern India elephant population. The elephant population in Southern West Bengal is expanding its home range beyond ‘Mayurjharna Elephant Reserve’ (414.06sq.km.) and the declared ‘Zone of influence’ (1436sq.km). In last 5 years elephant population here increased by 61% (i.e. 118+ in 2012 to 190+ in 2016-17) and extended their home range in human dominated landscape. These elephants are subdivided into 120+ migratory, 40+ residential and 30+ Mayurjharna elephants with several subgroups. The population is expanding their home range in 10 forest divisions and in last 5 years killed 163 people, injured 217+, and damaged 8053 huts, and 20,000+ hectares of crops and on the other side the 50+ elephants died (including natural and accidental incidents).

These elephants are facing high level of conflict in human-dominated landscape. It is very much essential to restore the degraded habitat and community participation to secure the existing corridors as safe passage. This project will work to restore degraded elephant corridors in human dominated landscapes and develop opportunities for villagers through alternate livelihood development to minimise corridor forest resource dependency. The restored habitats can support a viable population of migratory elephants and secure their safe passage through these green corridors. The interactive and in-depth community awareness, sensitization and capacity building programme to reduce the intensity of conflicts will help to change the attitude of people and reduce the probability of retaliatory killing / harming to the elephants.

The most vital part of the project is yearlong Conservation Education and Community Capacity Building programme as only this can reduce Human-Elephant Interaction. We hope the project will help to bring the change in community attitude and also they will adopt the suggested HEC mitigation measure gradually. We hope that ‘Elephant Distribution Map’ and ‘Conflict Intensity Zone Map’ will help forest managers and policy makers to develop need based management plan. The updated database will help to develop migration calendar to develop agricultural planning to minimize crop raiding impact. The project will develop local level conservationist to continue the human-elephant interaction mitigation in the project area. The project findings with recommendations in a form of project report will be circulated to concerned authorities with recommendation and collaborative implementation.

Project Researcher : Samya Basu

Project Researcher Contact : [email protected]

Additional Information :

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aecfindia
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elefriendsamya
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samyabasu
YouTube: https://youtu.be/I8JJr7YJcmY