Elephants in the dark: a success story from Southern India

In partnership with the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) India, Elephant Family have been finding ways to avoid instances of human-elephant conflict in Southern India. We love receiving updates and hearing the success stories demonstrating the efficacy of interventions put in place by our conservation teams on the ground, and this most recent update is particularly exciting.

Jogisiddegowda is a small-scale farmer living in a small house on the edge of the Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary. He rears cattle and cultivates a small plot of land which is usually enough to feed his family, occasionally enough for him to make a profit from any surplus crop.

Given its location, Jogisiddegowda’s home is often visited by local wildlife at night time, particularly elephants as they’re drawn to the haystacks which stand outside his house.

It sometimes happens that when passing the property in the dark, the elephants destroy parts of it creating a clear risk to Jogisiddegowda and his family. Thankfully,  NCF were able to offer an intervention to remove this instance of human-elephant conflict.

By installing solar-powered lighting near Jogisiddegowda’s cattle shed and on the house, it was hoped that the bright lights would deter the wild animals that wandered nearby.

NCF recently took a trip to visit Jogisiddegowda to see how he was getting on with the new solar panel lights and were enthralled with a recent experience he had had, involving the lighting:

“We had a close call with elephants a few nights ago. It was midnight and they were passing near our house. I was sleeping outside the house that night along with my two young daughters when I heard the elephants moving near the house. Seeing the lights they avoided my house, and we also ran back inside. If not for the lights, I can’t imagine what would have happened to us. These solar lights provided by NCF saved my family and livestock that night.”

Not only have the newly installed lights prevented any recurrences of wildlife destroying his home, but they’ve also meant that Jogisiddegowda’s children can continue to study even after dark.

This is a heartwarming example of how human-wildlife conflict mitigation leads to peaceful coexistence. Without such mitigation, many people are often forced to resort to retaliation which can lead to the wildlife or them being harmed, and sometimes even killed. But as we’ve seen here, this doesn’t have to be the case and Jogisiddegowda’s story gives us hope for a future of coexistence!

Find out more about Elephant Family’s work with NCF here.



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