“An elephant is destroying a crop field. People are chasing away the elephant.” Apart from showcasing their experiences of human-elephant interactions through drawings, the children revealed a certain degree of curiosity about elephants. Photo from Medha Nayak.

Securing existing corridors

Tiwari reiterated the Right of Passage report that underscores that corridors be legally protected (notifying by states) to prevent further fragmentation of habitat and increased human-elephant conflict. 

“There is a lot of discussion at the state level and centre level but not much has happened in terms of notifying, securing the corridors and giving them legal protection. Till the time that happens, ground-level interventions are crucial,” said Tiwari.

Tiwari batted for a mix of methods to secure corridors. “You can’t have a single mechanism for securing corridors. Depending on the landscape, corridors can be secured using various provisions of Wild Life (Protection) Act, Environmental Protection Act, and Autonomous Council laws. They could also be secured by working with the local communities, state forest departments, Autonomous District Councils and others. Many states have started doing it,” he said.

For example, in the Garo Hills, the elephant corridors and other important wildlife areas are being notified as Village Reserve Forests by the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council or Community Reserves or conservation reserves. These could also be notified as an eco-sensitive zone by the state government. 

In Kerala (Thirunelli –Kudrakote corridor) and Karnataka (Edayarhalli-Doddasampige and Chamrajnagar-Talamalai at Mudahalli corridors) have been secured in partnership with NGOs (Wildlife Trust of India).

“It is important that the states notify the existing corridors as state corridors so that line agencies are aware of the criticality of the area and could avoid or take adequate measure when developmental activities are planned,” Tiwari noted.

Udgata added that the construction of underpass or overpass to facilitate movement of elephants should be included in the infrastructure project plan itself if the project coincides with an elephant corridor. “Efforts should able be made to amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and bring in a provision to secure and protect elephant corridors,” added Tiwari.

 

Banner image: One of the 29 sketches analysed by social science researchers to understand perceptions of human-elephant interactions in an Odisha district. Photo by Medha Nayak.

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