Celebrating World Elephant Day 2020

World Elephant Day 2020

Each year in India, close to 1 million hectares of land and between 10,000-15,000 properties are destroyed by elephants.

Between 2014 and 2019, 2,361 humans were killed in India as a result of conflict with elephants, while 510 elephants were killed in incidents of electrocution, train accidents, poaching and poisoning.

Elephant Family works tirelessly to support and fund work to prevent these tragedies from occuring. So for World Elephant Day this year we’re focusing on human-elephant coexistence, and our inredible conservation teams on the ground that help make that happen.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 Elephant Family’s income has been hard hit, with budgets being greatly reduced which puts so many of the conservation teams we fund at risk. Any support you are able to give is invaluable to the work of our conservation partners.

What is human-elephant conflict?

Human-elephant conflict occurs as a direct result of competition between people and elephants for space and resources.

As areas of human development expand and encroach into natural landscapes, elephant habitats and migration routes are destroyed or completely altered.

This leads to instances where elephants destroy buildings, crops and ultimately livelihoods of community members through no fault of their own. As this ocurs, elephants are chased away and maltreated, often being attacked or even killed.

How can the issue of human-elephant conflict be solved?

Each area that suffers from human-elephant conflict faces it’s own unique set of issues. Elephant Family funds a wide range of on-ground conservation teams who work with forest departments, governments and local communities to create coexistence based solutions that work for people and wildlife.

Addressing human-elephant conflict in innovative ways, these partners are saving the lives of humans and elephants, protecting vital biodiversity and protecting livelihoods in the communities they work with.

How is Elephant Family working to bring about human-elephant coexistence?

Some of the projects funded by Elephant Family which relate to this issue are detailed below.

Understanding relationships between humans and elephants

Since 2006, Elephant Family have been working with the Nature Conservation Foundation in India to support the work of Dr Anand Kumar. Whitley Award winner Anand has developed technology which acts as an early warning system that alerts villagers to the presence of wildlife within their community.

These early warning systems allow people to adapt their behaviour to accommodate wildlife, thereby prevent conflict situations from arising. The project brings increased safety to 70,000 people and has so far had a 100% success rate.

Find out more about this project here.

Understanding how human-dominated landscapes influence elephant behaviour

In addition to Anand’s project, we have also partnered with the Nature Conservation Foundation to discover how elephants are having to alter their behaviour as they encounter areas of human development.

By monitoring herd health and individual animal behaviour, researchers gather data that is then used to inform land planning and management in order to avoid human development encroaching on elephant habitat.

Find out more about this project here.

Managing human-elephant conflict

In partnership with the Green Guard Nature Organisation, Elephant Family have been working to improve elephant habitat and food availability in the Karbi foothills in Assam to help reduce crop damage, and reduce instances of human-elephant conflict.

Alongside “in the field” improvements to elephant habitat, our partners are working to engage local communities and educate them with information about local wildlife and habitats, and helping to addresss the issues around the illegal poaching and killing of protected species.

Find out more about our work with the Green Guard Nature Organisation.

If you’d like to support our human-elephant coexistence work, please make a donation.