Man animal conflict

Reducing Human Elephant Conflict

Reducing Human Elephant Conflict 

-Susan Sharma

The Gajanana campaign for wild elephants crowd funded Rs 73,122.   The campaign is now closed.  WRCS and IWC thank all members of IWC who contributed to the cause.

How will the money be used?

Wildlife Research and Conservation Society(WRCS) has been advocating and training villagers on the periphery of forests with elephants to use natural methods for mitigating human-elephant conflicts.  
Man and elephant co-existence dates back to over 4000 years ago when elephants were integrated into cultural, religious and social lives of humans. Elephants require large areas for food and shelter. However, with increasing human influences in forest areas, the elephants are left with little choice but to come near human habitations and feed on luscious crops on the forest boundary causing serious social and economic damage to the farmers in the region. In such areas, local farmers perceive elephants as their enemy and want to get rid of them. 

Since 2010, Wildlife Research and Conservation Society (WRCS) is implementing community-based conflict management approach in North Kanara District in Karnataka wherein local farmers are trained in using simple and low cost crop protection methods. Till date, over 400 farmers are using the methods to protect their crops from elephants. Alongside, they are also training the local women in making elephant-themed  handicraft items. WRCS is helping in marketing the products and the proceeds of the sale are directed to the women’s groups.  Through this initiative, local communities are able to generate income through elephants and have begun to view elephants as a friend and not as an enemy. This positive image makeover of elephants is proving to be most useful in securing their future in human-dominated areas.

This mother and calf were captured from a region prone to human elephant conflict. They will never live freely in the forests - both will always remain in captivity.

At WRCS, they build the capacity of farmers in protecting their own crops using simple low cost methods such as the trip alarms and bee hive fences, so that elephants do not enter their farms and damage their crops. The equation is simple: Safe Crops = Happy Farmers = Safe Elephants.
The money raised in the Gajanana campaign will be used to purchase crop protection measures such as sirens, powerful torches and trip alarms that will help the farmers in securing their crops. This will prevent elephants from getting into conflict with farmers and save them from being captured or electrocuted.

The farmer is holding a trip alarm bell. If elephants enter the farm at night an alarm bell is triggered by a trip wire placed in its path. The farmer quickly rushes to the farm and drives the elephant away, and his crops are protected for one more day.

This a bee hive fence on the boundary of farms. Each log has a bee colony and is protected by a roof. Elephants are afraid of bees. These fences protect the farms from damage by elephants

The photo shows lovely and talented ladies of North Kanara district working on elephant-themed handicraft items. WRCS is training them in making elephant themed handicraft such as tote bags, canvas bags, t-shirts, keychain, pillow covers,, soft elephant toys The finished goods are marketed by WRCS so they get the proceeds of the sale. Elephants are now viewed as income provider for the local communities. This way it helps to offset any losses they incur due to elephants. 

Update in 2018

Watch our short film on human elephant conflict at the link

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