Understanding Human-Elephant Relationships

Why is this project so important?

The Hassan region dominated by paddy fields and coffee plantations is one of the most challenging landscapes for human-elephant conflict in Karnataka. 

Unfortunately, human-elephant conflict in Hassan has reached boiling point. Between 1986 and 2011, 46 people and 17 elephants have died as a result of this conflict with over 250 human and elephant injuries reported.  The conflict got so bad that in 2014 pressure from villagers led to the Forest Department capturing 22 elephants – the largest, single capture to take place in India. A few years later more elephants occupied the landscape from neighbouring villages with conflict back on the rise.

Rolling out Early Warning Systems

This project aims to mitigate human-elephant conflict and avoid further elephant captures from happening. 

Since 2015 Elephant Family has been working with our field partners on the ground in Hassan to document key human-elephant conflict hotspots and implement systems that will help humans and people live alongside each other more peacefully. 

Project Partner: Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF)    

Duration: 2010 - present  

Elephant population of Karnataka State: 5,300 - 6,200

Project goals

1)      Identify critical elephant migrations and habitats

2)      Investigate where human-elephant conflict is happening and why

3)      Understand local attitudes towards elephants

4)      Improve ways of dealing with and preventing conflict

What we do

We fund the pioneering work of Dr. M. Ananda Kumar, who won a Whitley Award (also known as a Green Oscar) in 2015 for the innovative Elephant Family funded Elephant Information System in India.

Elephant Family alongside Dr. Kumar of the Nature Conservation Foundation, are replicating the award-winning early warning systems from Valparai, Tamil Nadu, to mitigate human-elephant conflict in this highly complex and fraught landscape of Hassan. This project will be the first of its kind in the region which adopts a bottom-up approach, involving local communities and government agencies to promote human-elephant coexistence. 

Due to our timely presence and intervention in the district, fatal encounters of people with elephants on identified critical stretches in the evening have been averted. These incidents demonstrate the importance of early warning systems through SMS, phone calls and the installation of digital display boards on critical stretches which will help safeguard people’s lives in this area.