Reducing Human Elephant Conflict in India, reducing mortality using habitat restoration and technology
This application is under Protecting the Environment
Asian Elephants are mainly found in the Indian peninsula and conflict mitigation in the fractured landscape avoids death on both sides
Rotary Clubs in RID 3203 would like to partner and support Human Elephant Conflict Mitigation Program being run by Nature Conservation Foundation India. This project was awarded a Whitley prize and had funding from agencies like WWF, Rufford Foundation, Elephant Family UK, but has not been able to raise funding due to Covid restrictions
The program is currently not being able to be maintained and expanded. Elephant conflicts especially in areas where people have no recourse lead to human death or elephant deaths. There are no problem elephants, rather, problem in warning and habitats. In January this year, a woman was killed by an elephant. The lack of funding had made it difficult to expand the reach of the program. With nil human deaths Valparai area now has both human and elephant death.
The Rotary Clubs of RID 3203, have been observing this project and have seen the efficacy of its use. We are confident if we can fund this program at least one population of elephants will survive and have coexistence with the population therein. RID 3203 along with yet to be identified partners will finance the maintenance and expansion of this program for three years so the project becomes sustainable and community ownership and administration by the Forest Department
The funding is expected to be raised through global grants, and with rotary clubs in the region. A project proposed under the Area of Focus environment, we are looking for funding of $93000 for a three year project. In terms of raising funds we are hoping to make this a multidistrict project. We are confident that we will be able to raise one years budget of $30,000. We are hoping other Districts, and Clubs will also be interested in being a part of a successful conservation program. India is home to around 27,000 of these Asian elephants with the Global population around 45,000. The habitats are shrinking and human elephant conflicts are going to rise.
Why elephants? They are the gardener's of our forests and most of conflict occurs where their corridors of movement are restricted by habitat disturbances and human incursion. A early warning system helps save human lives and it has been successful in the past. Concurrently we are working in the RI D 3203 to restore degraded forest habitats.
The main need that has been identified in the running of this project and the area covered has to be expanded. The maintenance of existing systems are taken care of right now and the covid situation has made and expansion of the project difficult. Once started and people trained, this system will be handed over to the Forest Department.
Club Level Involvement: Creating Awareness Campaigns and facilitating understanding both at the community level and publicising the Conservation of Elephants and People. Most animal conflicts are also reasons from environmental justice point of view as the people in close contact to the forests are people who eke out a marginal living.
Clubs will be involved in fund raising drives. Elephants in India are treated as Gods in temples but with shrinking habitats, and lack of corridors these magnificent animals may face a functional extinction. elephants have long lives and conservation measures now will help keep this fragile coexistence going.
About Field Partner - Nature Conservation Foundation India -www.ncf-india.org
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