Corridor Conservation in Action
It’s hard to believe that a decade ago this peaceful gathering of wild elephants at a water-hole in Kerala may have been consigned to history. For centuries, thousands of wild elephant’s had plied this ancient migratory route through what is now known as the Tirunelli-Kudrakote elephant corridor in Kerala, southern India, moving between feeding and breeding grounds in the area.
It was the growing human population; the expansion of settlements, agriculture and indiscriminate developments resulting in the degradation and fragmentation of the habitat that threatened not only the survival of the elephants but also the people who had moved into and blocked the elephant’s route.
Securing this vital wildlife corridor, and the future of the world’s largest single population of Asian elephants, became an urgent conservation priority and work began to realise the dream in 2007.
With support from Elephant Family, a 2,200 acre corridor, providing a protected path for 1,400 elephants, was secured and, in 2015, the corridor received legal protection, meaning that the right of way for elephants was secured in perpetuity. Securing the area meant the voluntary relocation of 37 families from four settlements and purchasing 25.3 acres of land which was handed over to Kerala Forest Department to ensure its long-term conservation.
Today, Elephant Family funds the monitoring and evaluation of the project to ensure that best practice is being observed as we move forward and develop new corridors in an ambitious plan with our Asian Elephant Alliance partners to secure 101 elephant corridors by 2025.
In a recent visit to Kerala, Elephant Family was thrilled to see the positive impacts of the work; herds of wild elephants moving through the corridor, pausing at waterholes and villagers happy and safe in their newly relocated homes.
“Seeing elephants roaming freely and local people and their livelihoods protected is the perfect outcome. We now have to continue our work to ensure that the corridor remains safe and that our ambitions to secure all 101 elephant corridors across India can and will be realized,” said Elephant Family’s Davina Harbord.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in Elephant Family events or donated in any way to help raise funds and awareness for this work – the Kerala corridor is living proof of just how effective conservation can be.