From uneasy neighbours to more peaceful human-elephant coexistence

Thanks to your amazing support this ground-breaking project in southern India is providing a safer environment for people and elephants alike. Through the use of communication technology, community participation and early-warning systems there is a positive move from uneasy neighbours to more peaceful human-elephant coexistence as this latest update shows.

Elephants moving through a tea plantation in Valparai. Photo: Joseph Herbert

Valparai plateau

- In the Valparai plateau registration for elephant presence SMS alerts has now reached 4,442 mobile phones with a significant increase – up 221% - in women participating since the project began.

- 90% of alert beacons to share information of elephant presence, were triggered by the local community, indicating their involvement and investment in human-elephant conflict management in the region.

- There have been no incidents of human death due to elephants in 2018. This is the fourth consecutive year with no human fatalities.

- Property damage remains low with fewer than 100 incidents compared to 150 in previous years.

- The project in this area has become a model for other areas in India and has been replicated in 42 centres in Kerala, Coorg region in Karnataka and the northern part of West Bengal. Bulk SMS and voice call alert systems have also been replicated in China.

- 120 elephants are benefitting from these measures in the area.

- Sustained efforts to increase safety to people, reduced incidents of human fatalities and property damage by elephants are all helping to create more positive attitudes in the community.

More women have signed up the SMS scheme Photo: Kalyan Varma

A digital display board warns of elephant presence on a busy stretch of road

Hassan

- New bulk SMS and Voice call alerts have been benefitting 27,000 people living in 132 villages.

- Registration for early alerts increased from 500 families to 2,200 showing people’s confidence in the technology.

- Five digital display boards and eight alert beacons are now installed along critical stretches of roads benefitting 29,000 people in 68 villagers – alerting them to the presence of elephants.

- Over 98% of the alert beacons to share information of elephant presence, were triggered by the local community, indicating their involvement and investment in human-elephant conflict management in the region.

- Property damage between January and September 2018 has drastically reduced by 68% to 72 incidents.

- Rapid Response Teams and a helpline facility established by the Karnataka Forest Department has been helpful in developing a strong elephant information network that has been welcomed by local communities.

- In addition to the existing display boards, state Forest Departments have installed five more boards at critical junctions covering 43 villages benefitting 14,800 people.

- 35 elephants are benefitting from these measures in the area.

- People’s attitudes are changing slowly as fatalities and damage reduces but there is still work to be done in increasing positivity and tolerance towards elephants.

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