Capture of Coimbatore’s Crop-eating, Peaceful Elephant, Chinna Thambi

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Chinna Thambi, a 25-year old tusker from the Anaikatti region in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, was relocated to Anamalai Tiger Reserve on 26th January, 2018. This was done following repeated complaints by a section of farmers from the region that the elephant was raiding crops and breaking into houses for food. These agricultural lands are adjacent to Thadagam Reserve Forest and Anaikatti South Reserve Forest of Coimbatore Forest Division. Perhaps because this particular bull had never attacked anyone, the indigenous community … Read More

Inviolate Spaces Act as Refugia for Conflict Prone Asiatic Elephant

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Authors Varun R. Goswami, Divya Vasudev and Madan K. Oli use population modeling to demonstrate the detrimental effects of mortality resulting from human–wildlife conflict on long-term persistence of the endangered Asian elephant. Below are the highlights of their study, “The importance of conflict-induced mortality for conservation planning in areas of human–elephant co-occurrence” published in Biological Conservation (Volume 176) in 2014.

A long-standing debate in wildlife conservation is whether we need inviolate spaces, or spaces devoid of human presence, for long-term … Read More

Lights on for Elephants

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Technology offers solutions for Human-Elephant Conflicts.

The dark hulks ambled in a single file across the stark green landscape of thigh-high tea bushes. Without a pause in their stride, the elephants made their way towards a tiny patch of forest. Save for the tree crickets, there were no other sounds. Had it been daytime, the elephants would have been harassed by people behaving like neurotic monkeys. On such occasions, despite their size, the elephants seemed so vulnerable, with nowhere to … Read More

Elephants in Chandaka — Banished From Their Homes

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With inputs from Aditya Panda.

(This article was first published in The Pioneer dated Aug 29, 2012 under the title ‘Banished from their homes’).

In 1967, a wild tigress from the Chandaka forest on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar walked into the Nandankanan Zoo nearby, lured by the calls of a male tiger in one of the moated exhibits, and jumped in to join him, surely unaware that there was no way out. The tigress –– later named ‘Kanan’ –– lived … Read More

‘Gajah’: The Report of the Elephant Task Force

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A major report on securing the future for the Elephant in India was today submitted to the Minister of Environment & Forests. The report lays out a comprehensive action agenda for protecting elephants in the wild and in captivity, and for addressing human-elephant conflict. The Minister welcomed the Report and promised speedy implementation of the major recommendations.

The Executive Summary is posted here. The full report can be downloaded from the MOEF website here.

Executive Summary

Securing a future … Read More

Elephants near Human Settlements

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This was photographed in the backwaters of the Kabini River in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Across the river, just outside the reserve (Gendathur side of Bandipur Tiger Reserve), there are a lot of human settlements. Elephant Proof Trenches (EPT) protecting this area do little to stop the herds. Elephants easily swim across from the Nagarahole side to graze on grass on the Bandipur side, bringing them into frequent conflicts with humans. Cattle grazing occurs near the human settlements in the morning, … Read More

Elephant Rescue, Valparai

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It was that time of the year again, when elephants slowly started marking their presence. Like every year, there were incidents of households getting hit here and there, thankfully, nothing major though. What is always interesting to note every year is the consistency they maintain in terms of their movement patterns, and also in the damage sites they choose! Early that morning I decided to take off from my daily routine in front of my Macbook’s hypnotizing screen. I went … Read More

Elephants and Dhole, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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This image was taken on June 3rd, 2014 at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Tamil Nadu. We were driving from Aliyar in the foothills to Valparai and a group of around 50 tourists were cheering and screaming, we got down to see what was going on. An amazing drama was unfolding in front of us — a herd of elephants (7) were chasing away a pack of dhole (around 20) along the banks of the Aliyar reservoir!

As this road … Read More

Human-Elephant Conflict, Coimbatore

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Though an old picture (taken in 2012), this image shows the rise of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) in the The Thadagam valley of Coimbatore. This area has become a major centre for brick production and the numerous brick kilns have drastically altered the landscape and interfered with the animal movement in the area. The outskirts of Coimbatore have served as traditional elephant migratory corridors connecting the various major forested regions of the Western and Eastern Ghats.

These two tuskers were standing … Read More

Tusker in Tea, Munnar

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Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the largest land animal in India. Poached for ivory, large tusked males are a rare sight nowadays. Eravikulam National Park in Kerala is surrounded by tea estates. A number of shola patches were destroyed decades ago when the tea estates were established. These estates are used as corridors by elephants when moving to other forest patches, thereby bringing them into conflict with humans.… Read More

Developing Simple and Innovative Techniques to Monitor Elephants

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Authors V. R. Goswami, M.V. Lauretta, M. D. Madhusudan and K. U. Karanth have developed an automated process to identify individual adult male elephants effectively. These are the highlights of their study published in the journal, Animal Conservation in 2011.

There are an estimated 40,000 wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) spread across 13 countries in Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka in South Asia and Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam). According … Read More

Camera-trapping Mammals in Pakke Tiger Reserve

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Photographs by Forest Department staff of Pakke Tiger Reserve.

Intensive camera trapping by state forest departments (as per Phase-IV of NTCA) to monitor tiger populations, is now being done on a yearly basis in tiger reserves across India. This was done for the first time in Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. Here are some stunning images of fabulous mammals captured during this season’s monitoring exercise. This effort has been mainly undertaken by the forest department staff of Pakke … Read More

Book Launch : The Story of Asia’s Elephants — New Delhi, April 30th 2013

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Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) cordially invites you to the launch of Dr Raman Sukumar’s book: The Story of Asia’s Elephants.

The relationship between elephants and people in Asia over thousands of years is a unique one. This book is not an art history, but rather an ecological and cultural history of the Asian elephant. The focus is on India because of the great significance of the elephant in this ancient civilization as well as the profusion of material, both Read More

Manual Review — ‘Monitoring Elephant Populations and Assessing Threats’ (edited by Simon Hedges)

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Monitoring Elephants the right way: A Synopsis of the Manual titled ‘Monitoring Elephant Populations and Assessing Threats’.

Elephants are social, group living mammals revered by people across diverse cultures in the world. Once widely distributed across a range of ecological conditions, currently distribution and abundance of elephants have both dwindled drastically throughout its range due to habitat loss, fragmentation and poaching. India holds the largest population of Asian elephants surviving today.

In spite of its conservation significance, elephant populations across … Read More

Palamu’s Killer Tracks

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One of the biggest threats to the wildlife of Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR), spread over an area of 1130 sq.kms in West-Central Jharkhand, has been the New Delhi-Ranchi Railway line that slices through the Tiger Reserve’s core ranges of East & West Chhipadohar over a distance of 8 kms. About 70 trains — both passenger and freight — ply on this busy rail route everyday (these lines have been in existence before Palamu’s notification as a Tiger Reserve in 1973). … Read More

Elephant Taunting – A Despicable Spectator Sport in Coimbatore Forests

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Editor’s note: This report exposes a serious problem that needs urgent resolution. CI requests journalists to highlight this issue so that the authorities put strong measures in place to stop it. We request all conservationists and conservation NGOs in Coimbatore to join hands to help the Forest Department in solving this problem urgently.

Coimbatore, often referred to as the Manchester of South India, harbours hundreds of factories and multinational companies, which need land and other resources. Despite this, the … Read More

Tourists Gone Wild

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This was photographed in November 2010 in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve of Karnataka. It is evident that the mother elephant is completely agitated and trying to protect her calf. In spite of the efforts of the forest department in educating tourists and operators about maintaining a distance of at least 200m from wild animals, many violate these rules and approach animals closely, and provoke them at close range, seeking dangerous thrills. … Read More

Survival

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In July 2012, I was witness to a story of survival in the wild, and how, despite the best attempts of humans, nature has its way. I was in Valparai and we got news that an elephant herd that we were tracking had given birth to a calf. The mother was a young elephant and an older one was observed always staying by her side. A few days later, while I was at Bangalore, I heard the startling news that … Read More

From Wild To Captivity: An Orphaned Elephant Calf

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This four-year old elephant calf was found in the Malapuzha forest range of Palakkad, Kerala, dehydrated, tired and not eating anything. Thanks to the efforts of forest department staff and doctors, this tired little one was brought back to life. Unfortunately, the calf refused to go back into the forest. So the forest department had to take him to a rescue center. Even though the life of an elephant was saved, it was painful to see the transformation of a … Read More

Elephants Attempting to Cross Elephant Proof Trench

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This was photographed in the Chikkadevama hill, near Saragur, H D Kote Taluk, near Mysore. Here elephants are trying to cross an Elephant Proof Trench (EPT), so that they can raid adjacent crop fields. With most of their habitat deforested, and their corridors interrupted by human encroachments, it is no wonder that they are forced to raid crops.… Read More

Living with Elephants

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This was photographed in the Chikkadevama Hill, near Saragur, H D Kote taluk, Mysore. Adjoining this hill, there is a village called Lanke, where conflicts with elephants are frequent. During the crop season, many elephants cross the scrub jungle late in the evening and return back to forest in the early morning hours. This photograph clearly shows a villager trying to drive a group of elephants back to the jungle.

When one talks to the forest department people here, one … Read More

Lone Elephant in Degrading Landscape

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This was photographed in the Nugu Backwaters, near Saragur, H D Kotte, Mysore. Cattle Grazing and collecting timber for  firewood look like the major problems here. Once livestock return to their thatched huts, elephants start to come out of the forests late in the evening, heading towards water. They returns back to woods after finishing a quick drink. Landscape such as this slowly degrades over time due to the human land use modifications.… Read More

Resort Vehicles and Responsibility

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I witnessed this at Kabini in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, where a canter van belonging to Jungle Lodges and Resorts was stopped extremely close to a wild tusker. When we approached the scene, the van was parked on the safari track with the tusker close to it on the left. The tusker then moved slightly towards the van (may be a metre or so) and then stopped, but the van remained in its position. Only when there were signs of a … Read More

Q: We live in a small village, Thekambattu, near Salem in Tamil Nadu. Recently we had elephants near us for the first time in living memory of the oldest inhabitants here. We are glad to see your site because it is perhaps what would have helped us at that time. Anyway, the elephants seem to be wandering; so perhaps this is not the last we see of them. We need to know what can be done here as and when they show up without any resources, trained manpower etc. There has to be something like an Elephant Rescue team on call in the country at different places, I guess…

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Answer from Shekar Dattatri, Conservation India:

The problem you describe in your question – and in more much more detail in your blog – is an extremely difficult one to tackle. Although you yourself seem to have analyzed the various dimensions to this dilemma, and may not find this answer very useful, we are posting it here for the benefit of other readers, but with this rider. No one from CI has been to the area or studied the … Read More