Conservation Partner Profile: Ganesha N

This week, our conservation partner profile is on Ganesha N of the Nature Conservation Foundation India.

We support the work of Ganesha and his team to address the ongoing conflict between humans and elephants. Ganesha works to provide Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cookstoves and accessories to families residing inside or on the forest fringes. These stoves don’t produce toxic fumes and don’t degrade forest habitats and have ensured that families spend less time collecting firewood and cooking, and more time working to earn extra money. The reduced need for firewood allows the forests to recover, preserving the homes of Karnataka’s wildlife.

This week we hear from Ganesha himself about how he came to be a conservationist and his work to reduce human-wildlife conflict and create landscapes that support coexistence.

Ganesha and Elephant Family

My work with Elephant Family involves interacting with the local villagers, helping them understand the need for conservation, and distribute firewood alternatives (LPG cookstoves) to people who are dependent on forest-derived firewood. This helps to protect forest habitats by removing the need for people to chop down trees for firewood.

As part of my field-based tasks, I also meet and interact with people who live close to the forests and don’t have electricity connections, and provide solar-powered lights to them to reduce human-wildlife conflict. The lights prevent dangerous night-time interactions between people and wildlife that wander into villages, thereby reducing instances of conflict.

About Ganesha

I did my M.A and B.Ed from Mysore University in 2006 following which I worked under the under head priest of the Malai Mahadeshwara temple for two years, and also taught at a high school run by the Salur Mutt in Ponnachi village. I also worked as a Farmer Facilitator with the Raitha Sampark Kendra under the Karnataka Department of Agriculture for four years.

I was born in a village in the foot hills of MM Hills, and have loved the outdoors since my childhood. This fascination for the wild fuelled a desire to work in MM Hills-Cauvery landscape.

I consider myself blessed to belong to such a wonderful landscape, and working in the hills of Male Mahadeshwara and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries gives me immense happiness.

Photograph: Ganesh Raghunathan

“Ganesha is a cheerful and energetic individual with a go-getter attitude, who brings vitality to the team. His fondness for the landscape he works in, coupled with a natural flair for words and a sense of humous make him a good conversationalist, a quality that endears him to the communities he interacts with.”