Pushing boundaries

Expanding Protected Areas for India’s Endangered Wildlife

Why this project is important

In South India, Elephant Family supports a team of conservationists who have expanded Protected Areas in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. By reconnecting forest fragments and restoring migratory routes, the team are creating viable homes for the 300+ globally threatened species who live in the area whilst reducing human-wildlife crisis. 

Led by award winning conservationist Dr Sanjay Gubbi, the largest expansion of Protected Areas in India since 1970 has been achieved, linking together 23 areas of land and thousands of square kilometres. In 2020 an additional 45,000 acres was designated for protection, in part after a previously unknown population of chinkara antelope was identified. 

By supporting Sanjay and his team, we provide protection for ancient forests and ecosystems that have existed longer than the Himalayas, proving what can be achieved by working closely with those who have lived on these lands for generations, and with government. 

Project partner:  Nature Conservation Foundation 

Duration:  2020 – Ongoing 

Project goals 

To assist in the recovery and sustenance of tiger, elephant and other wildlife and their habitat in the Western Ghats. 

What we are doing 

The overall objectives of this work are: 

  1. To ensure designation of a network of protected areas in the Western Ghats and other areas to ensure long-term, viable population sustenance of wide-ranging species like tigers, elephants and other wildlife through science and targeted outreach.
  2. To pro-actively work with the decision makers and policy makers to bring about pro- conservation policies that have both fine scale and wide-ranging positive impact on wildlife preservation.
  3. Reduce existing habitat fragmentation/loss threats to consolidate wildlife habitats.
  4. Conservation of corridors that facilitate movement of wide-ranging species between larger habitat patches.
  5. Ensure long-term support to wildlife conservation through direct community-based conservation activities, targeted outreach and building a committed network of next generation conservationists.

Conservation is an art of the possible: with collective efforts and not being afraid to try, we can succeed.

Sanjay Gubbi

Alternative fuel sources

By providing the remote villages with alternative fuel sources, dependence on forest firewood is reduced. The smoke-free stoves are a cleaner, healthier way of cooking which his better for families. Women who would normally collect firewood have an average of 100 more days a year to spend with their children or to earn an income. With solar powered lighting now installed, forest communities no longer live in fear of surprise encounters with wild animals when leaving their homes at night.