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 in the shade of the neem tree waiting for a drink. There were more than 30 people watching and blocking the elephants, when these three men went close and posed in front of them.
As reported in Conservation India last January, elephants in this area are badly harassed by onlookers (who are typically immigrant brick kiln workers), frequently leading to retaliation and human deaths.
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Elephants are often called 'gentle giants', and this picture shows just how tolerant they can be. However, the men in the photo have obviously mistaken tolerance for harmlessness. Elephants can be extremely unpredictable, quick on their feet and and can kill with even a light blow from the muscle-packed trunk. We need to give them respect and space.