Saving the Odisha Elephant Landscape

Odisha Project cThe Odisha Elephant
Landscape Project

Odisha: The worst place in the world to be an elephant

Why is this project so important?

Odisha is the worst place in the world to be an elephant. This highly industrialised state in India 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.
Project Partner: Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) & Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO)

Duration: 2011 – present

Elephant population of Odisha: 1,800 - 1,950

Project goals

  • Prevention of habitat loss
  • Removal of threats
  • Mitigation of human-elephant conflict (HEC) and monitoring
  • Prevention of targeted poaching, including for ivory

What we do

By supporting local conservation groups, we receive 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. WPSI and WSO will continue to monitor progress.