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Saving endangered large mammals and protecting Karnataka's forest

Why is this project so important?

Home to 22% of India’s elephants, 18% of its tigers and 14% of its leopards, the state of Karnataka is a haven for wildlife, and the dense forests of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and Malai Mahadeshwara Hills are vital conservation areas within the state, home to dhole, sambar, chital and four-horned antelope as well as elephants and leopards. Unfortunately, these forests have been degraded by livestock grazing and firewood-gathering degrade the environment, meaning less food is available for herbivorous species.

The communities that live on the forest fringes depend on the trees for firewood, but risk dangerous encounters with wildlife to gather it. And, as well as damaging the forests, the wood burns inefficiently, making cooking a slow, laborious process and causing lung problems for the women labouring over the stoves.

Project partner:  Nature Conservation Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2023

Elephant population within project area: 300

Project goals

The overall goal is to assist the recovery of large mammal population (tigers, their prey, elephants) and their habitat in the Malai Mahadeshwara Hills – Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries We will achieve this with the following approaches: 

1) Direct community-based interventions to help both people and wildlife in key areas of this landscape 

2) Strengthening overall park management capability in reducing conservation threats 

3) Help foster local community support for conservation, through various community outreach activities. 

What we do

To reduce the harvest of forest-based fuelwood in the project area, NCF are providing 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 the local habitat. They’ve also ensured that the 115 families already provided with LPG stoves 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.

By considering the needs of animals and humans, projects like this one allow both to thrive.