An article in The New Indian Express points out how widespread the conflict between agriculture and elephants has become in southern India. The map shows the Nilgiri biosphere, home to about 6,000 wild elephants. The area that we have focused on in "Elephants in the Coffee" is near the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, which is better known as Nagarhole National Park. You can see that in the upper left of the map.
But the conflict discussed in the article is in far south of the Nilgiri biosphere, and about 350 kilometers (about 220 miles) from the area reported on in our documentary. Yet according to the article, wild elephants near Marayoor in Kerala, India, are creating a deadly problem for residents.
The article says 33 people have been killed by elephants there, including a visually challenged girl who was recently gored by a tusker. The article also says wild elephants have been destroying farmland.
In this case, the wild elephant causing problems has been driven back into a natural park. However, the case points out the difficulty of trying to separate humans from elephants with fences, as some have proposed. The map shows the huge range of elephants in southern India. Putting up an elephant fence at the cost of $200,000 per kilometer, as park officials are now trying to do at Nagarhole, could cost billions.
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Dr. Thomas Grant
Professor of Journalism at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College