Cultivating coexistence in southern India

Elephants are complex individuals and understanding their characters and what motivates them is an important part of learning how to live peacefully alongside them. While the lone bulls tend to be those known for aggression and crop raiding, others may just pass peacefully through a village.

During the last few months, The Dakshin Foundation team working in southern India completed profiling the personalities of around 120 elephants in the project area and divided them into four categories based on their interactions with humans.

The categories are:

1.Migrating elephants often only seen on camera traps account for 45% of sightings

2.Elephants seen more regularly but usually away from human habitation account for 40% of sightings

3.Elephants seen more regularly and that come close to habitation but are scared of people and exhibit ‘fight or flight’ behaviour – either running away or attacking – account for 5% of sightings

4.The highly habituated elephants that seem completely unafraid of people or don’t react. They are often seen as the local ‘celebrities’ and have a fan following

These findings – identifying aggressive to highly habituated elephants – will allow more effective human-elephant conflict management, and an educational video illustrating the four categories will soon be distributed. It’s one important strand of their work that is looking at elephant distribution, behaviour, human tolerance and crop raiding in a landscape that is home to 8,000 elephants and almost 1 million people.

You can read more about this project here and donate to support us here


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