Securing Elephant Corridors through Human-Elephant Co-existence in South West Bengal, India
Asian Elephant Conservation Foundation (AECF), India
In the human dominated landscape of West Bengal, the elephant population has increased by 69% in the last 6 years. By behavior, these elephants are subdivided into migratory, residential and Mayurjharna elephants which makes HEC mitigation challenging. This population is less than 20% of the state’s entire elephant population, but claims more than 50-55% of the damages. The elephants’ historic migratory routes are being destroyed due to timber poaching, conversion of forest lands to fields, and are often obstructed by illegal electric fences. This project studies the vulnerability of the inter-state migratory corridors and migratory passage within West Bengal with the goal of minimizing detrimental human-elephant interactions. It will develop awareness for elephants and their needs while building capacity to reduce HEC especially for corridor dependent villages. The ‘Anti-depredation Squad’ that secures the safe passage of elephants will be strengthened and expanded, and an improved habitat management plan focused on ecological restoration will be developed.