Amid the shrinking natural habitats globally, India, known for its incredible biodiversity and being home to the world’s largest population of Asian elephants, continues to serve as a beacon of hope for wildlife conservation and human-wildlife coexistence. In support of this vital cause, Elephant Family is delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Trust. This collaboration aims to expand conservation efforts into central India – an important landscape for tigers and other species, as well as a hotspot for human-wildlife conflict.
The funds raised from the recent Animal Ball will directly contribute to biodiversity-rich landscapes where charismatic animals such as tigers and elephants live in close proximity to human activity. These keystone species play a crucial role in shaping South Asian landscapes, maintaining essential ecosystems that support the survival of lesser known but equally vital creatures.
Through its long-standing commitment and new partnerships, Elephant Family continues to collaborate with conservation leaders who possess decades of experience in their respective landscapes. This new partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Trust marks a significant step forward in Elephant Family’s conservation endeavours. Central India, known for its importance as a habitat for tigers and other species, poses unique challenges due to human-wildlife conflicts. Therefore, the partnership will focus on three key areas to address these challenges effectively.
Firstly, creating safe spaces for both people and wildlife. Building upon existing efforts, Elephant Family and the Wildlife Conservation Trust will expand initiatives aimed at reducing forest degradation and minimising the risk of human-wildlife conflict. One notable initiative is supporting the adoption of energy-efficient, biomass-fueled water heaters in local communities. By providing communities with an alternative to venturing into forests for firewood, this simple yet effective solution not only protects wildlife but also contributes to a significant reduction of CO2 emissions. So far, this initiative has provided 6,000 families with heaters, saving approximately 6,000 tonnes of firewood annually and preventing almost 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
In addition, the partnership seeks to protect lesser-known species, focusing on the endangered and enigmatic Indian pangolin. Despite stringent protective measures, Indian pangolins continue to face the threat of trafficking for various purposes, including domestic consumption and international trade. Elephant Family and the Wildlife Conservation Trust will work together to combat this illegal trade and ensure the preservation of this remarkable species.
Furthermore, the partnership will work to build more wildlife corridors and protect forests to facilitate the movement of wildlife, especially tigers, in the Tillari Conservation Reserve. Spanning a small but critical 30 sq. km region, this reserve acts as a crucial pinch-point for tigers and other large wildlife migrating from Karnataka into Maharashtra. By enhancing the connectivity and safeguarding the forested areas, Elephant Family and the Wildlife Conservation Trust aim to ensure the seamless movement and survival of these iconic species.