A new conflict has erupted in India: One that pits elephants against humans - A video shared from Brut Nature
The human elephant conflict has reached enormous proportions in India. While the NGO's and conservationists continue to look at alternatives, solutions, co-existence, majority of the population have no clue as to how to deal with the situation. How to deal with the persistent conflict and often that leads to taking brute force into their hands. Stone pelting, chasing the elephants by fire, firecracker sounds, gun shots, even illegal electrocution, endless amount of force that are not natural and illegal continue to abate. There has to be broader education, engagement with the public and sympathies with those that are generally affected in number of ways including with those that have lost their livelihood, precious dear ones, in some cases sole bread winners is a critical process of future conservation.
Writer Lakshmi Palecanda sent this note to Parthiv Parekh from Mysore, India
Parthiv, I was stunned to read the article 'Elephants in Coffee' in Khabar, because I wanted to write about that as well. You see, our estate is not very far from Nagarhole National Park, and we have a huge elephant problem (pun intended).
It first began in May 2014. Our workers told us that elephants were sighted near our estate, but we were not too worried. Our estate did not border the forest, so the elephants wouldn't come there. But they did. One rainy night in May, we were at our little house on the estate, when we heard trumpeting really close by. We stayed awake hoping that they wouldn't knock down our walls, because they are just mud walls. In the morning, my husband and our maistry (overseer) found footprints galore near a small pond within 100 feet of the house. The prints showed that a young one had gotten caught in the mud and been rescued by its family, hence the noise. Later we found that the herd was 13 strong with one baby at least in their midst. I saw the place where one had slipped and where another had smashed a jackfruit with its feet.
Ever since, elephants have become a huge menace. They are very silent, so you can literally stumble across them. And they are not really gentle giants. They give chase and if they catch you, they either throw you or gore you to death. And they are scared, so they are aggressive. My sister-in-law was sweeping the yard near her house and looked up to see three elephants within 10 feet of her. She ran to her house, and they chased her. She ran around a small hedge, and they ran through it. For some reason, they stopped where the cemented driveway was, and turned and went back. Otherwise, she would have been killed that day.
All this leads to an atmosphere of fear. You have to constantly watch out. It is lovely to walk in the estate, but no longer. You can't outrun them, so you have to stay near habitation. Workers won't come to work if they know you have visiting elephants on your estate. Even staying in a house on the estate can be very scary.
I used to love elephants. I still do, but I'm also deathly scared of them. Their numbers are increasing, and they are becoming used to food and water being easily available on estates. The forest department is doing nothing, except setting off firecrackers, which make them run into the next estate. They are back later, as if nothing has happened. It is a very real problem, that is also occurring in other parts of the world like Tanzania and Sri Lanka. There is no solution in sight.
There is also another problem in Coorg - tigers. Yes, tigers are also entering cattle sheds in some parts of the district and preying upon cattle. And recently, a wild leopard was caught in the Mysore Zoo, which is quite close to our house.
As the Chinese proverb goes, we are living in very 'interesting' times indeed!
For months the award-winning documentary "Elephants in the Coffee" has been screened around the world with people understanding the impact of agricultural conflict and the future of habitats and wildlife conservation.
In response to an heart breaking but award-winning photo of elephant calf being harassed by the local villagers, NDTV's Swati Thiyagarajan pens on the ongoing and persistent human elephant conflict ...
Throughout our documentary, we talk at great length on the situations leading to it, and from where it begins and where it can lead to...In highlighting the agricultural conflict, we also look at the pragmatic scenario of where it is heading to and all those at stake in this battle for survival!!!
The above photo taken by Biplab Hazra in NE India of elephants being chased by a fire has created a new wave of conservation and conflict conversation and discussion. This photo has now made headlines in every possible international media across the world.
In a passionate column she writes, "The international media is going to town with this picture, but how about realizing that in developed, manicured worlds, they are lucky if they have a butterfly coming through their window, let alone an elephant. It's a complicated issue and requires long-term involved solutions. Making the people who have most to lose the villains is ridiculous and knee-jerk. "
Ten Thousand Villages a fair trade retail chain boldly states - "It matters where you buy your gifts. Shop ethically." It certainly matters so much in the modern world on all things that we consume everyday as our lifestyle keeps changing. In the adversity of all is the role of humans in the surrounding natural habitats for every other species on this planet. Do we care enough for other living being, probably not. In this scenario, it makes it more compelling when a fair trade organization that has committed to make the lives of thousands of families around the world, engages to support the award-winning film to highlight and bring the attention to the front. Clic Abroad spent an evening on November 14 at their Kansas City location sharing stories and all things about the endangered species and the future of conservation around national parks and agricultural surroundings.