In recent weeks, we have seen more stories about conflicts between farmers and elephants. One writer for the Guardian points out the conflicts in an area in southern India, near where we shot "Elephants in the Coffee."
Tarsh Thekaekara writes:
I grew up in a small town called Gudalur in the Nilgiri Hills, among elephants and stories about them. Elephants always fascinated me, and I’m in the middle of a PhD, trying to better understand how people and elephants share space. It’s an interest that almost grew out of necessity. The Gudalur region is about 500 square kilometres, or about one third the size of London, covered mostly by tea and coffee plantations and patches of forests. It’s home to a quarter of a million people, about 150 elephants and a host of other wild animals ranging from bears and tigers to flycatchers and martens. Every year, about a dozen people get killed in accidental encounters with elephants.
Another article in the Guardian points out that conflicts over land (think farming) are going to get worse. James Randerson writes:
According to the 2013 Elephants in the Dust report by a group of conservation NGOs, an estimated 29% of the animals’ known and possible range is heavily affected by human development. That figure is predicted to rise to 63% by 2050.
That's why CLIC Abroad, the non-profit behind "Elephants in the Coffee," is concerned with trying to find ways for elephants and humans to co-exist on the same lands. If we don't find a way, the future for elephants is indeed, and K.M. Chinappa says, bleak, indeed.
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Dr. Thomas Grant
Professor of Journalism at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College