An international alliance of non-government organisations including Wildlife Trust of India, will be raising £20 million to secure 100 corridors for elephants that will help check fragmentation of forests and Human–Elephant conflict.
Five NGOs — Elephant Family, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), IUCN Netherlands, World Land Trust and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) — signed an agreement in London to raise the funds by 2025. The event was hosted by Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
“With 100 elephant corridors documented by WTI in consultation with the forest departments, this alliance aims to secure a safe passage for India’s elephants, which comprise approximately half of the world’s wild Asian elephant population,” WTI said in a statement.
WTI’s Executive Director Vivek Menon said, “Five leading conservation organisations, 100 key elephant corridors but one goal; nothing pleases me more than the coming together of the global community in the fight for this endangered species. I am particularly pleased that Prince Charles who so wanted to see an Asian elephant last time he was in India, is present to grace this momentous occasion.”
According to WTI, each year, India loses nearly 400 people and about 50 elephants to man-animal conflict due to ever shrinking habitat of the animal. While most of the tiger habitat falls within the protected area, only 22 per cent of elephant habitat has some kind of protection, which means that a majority of elephant population in the country is living around human dominated landscapes which have become hotbeds of human elephant conflict.
WTI started its corridor securement project in 2001 and has since then secured three corridors in Karnataka, Kerala and Meghalaya. Considering how arduous resettlement and relocation is in India, it took years of negotiations for the WTI team to relocate villages falling within these corridors. In the process, WTI has worked out four model methods of securement of corridors and will use these to secure the remaining targeted corridors.