Our final stop on our research trip to India was Wayanad Wilidlife Sanctuary, home of the Kerala Elephant Corridor. This 2,200 acre corridor is important because it secures a right of passage for 1,400 elephants (the world's largest single population of Asian elephants). The Kerala Corridor was secured by voluntarily rehabilitating 37 families from four settlements and by purchasing of 25.3 acres of land. The corridor received legal protection in 2015 to ensure protection for elephants in perpetuity. The Kerala Corridor is continually monitored to ensure its effectiveness and is currently being used as a prototype for securing other corridors across India. There are 101 corridors in total, and Elephant Family is currently working to secure one in Assam, in Northeast India, as well as a corridor in Odisha, in Eastern India.
I hope our next trip will be to one of those sites, but for now it's time to get to work making lots of ghee to help save those elephants! Until next time! - Lee
Other Projects by Elephant Family
In Assam, Northeast India, Elephant Family is currently working to secure four vital elephant corridors in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape. One of these, the K-D Corridor, had become degraded as a result of two villages settling there, and a further three corridors/elephant routes are disturbed by highways and illegal forest cutting.This project is important because two hundred people (38 families) from two villages will benefit enormously from their voluntary location outside the elephant corridor and thereby avoid dangerous encounters with wildlife, be able to sleep soundly at night without having to worry about wild animals coming through their villages or destroying crops and food stores.
Corridors are like bridges between islands, they reconnect forest fragments. They allow elephants and other animals to feed and move freely, unthreatened by humans, farms, roads or railway lines. This project is therefore transforming the lives of up to 2,000 elephants and countless other species. This is a modern day conservation and humanitarian solution that truly works in a sustainable manner. Elephant Family is supporting the voluntary relocation of remote communities from dangerous wildlife-migratory areas to safer farmlands. Their new settlements are nearer to markets, and enable them for the first time to have brick houses, electricity and safe drinking water. Elephant Family has invested in officially marking out the corridors country-wide, providing a warning for would-be developers near the routes.
In Odisha, East India, Elephant Family is working with the Wildlife Trust of India and the Wildlife Society of Orissa to help prevent widespread elephant deaths. Odisha is the worst place in the world to be an elephant. Odisha is a highly industrialized state and is a deadly labyrinth of mines, open wells, railways and hostile, frightened communities trapping the surviving population of highly stressed elephants onto land that cannot support them. Over the past twelve years, sagging power lines alone have caused the unnecessary deaths of more than 120 elephants in Odisha. In the past decade, 685 elephants and 660 people have been killed due to human-elephant conflict. The goals of the project are to prevent habitat loss, remove threats, mitigate human-elephant conflict, and prevent poaching for ivory.
By supporting local conservation groups, Elephant Family receives vital information about sagging power lines, the presence of poachers, illegal quarries, new canals and industries in the region. The creation of an Elephant Threat Map of the State is currently underway using GPS data points to map the locations of wells, sagging power lines, railway lines, canals and industries within the corridors. In 2014, Elephant Family and WPSI succeeded in lobbying the government of Odisha, who agreed to commit £11 million to improve power lines in the state’s elephant districts. The first phase of the project has been completed, with many of the poles now bearing spikes to prevent elephants rubbing against them causing lines to fall.
In the past century, 90% of Asian elephants have disappeared off the face of the earth, with only 30,000 left in existence. To help ensure the survival of the remaining 10% of the population, we have partnered with an NGO called Elephant Family who works to secure vital elephant corridors across Asia. Corridors allow elephants to feed and move freely in the wild without being threatened by humans. 90/10 is our commitment to donate 10% of our profits to help save the Asian elephant, one corridor at a time.