India’s Forestry Department Makes Way for Some Elephants

This post was filed by Vivek Menon – The International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) Regional Director for South Asia. For more information about IFAW’s work in South Asia, visit http://www.ifaw.org

Team,

See this article in Times of India that came out recently. IFAW/WTI bought the first elephant corridor to be privately secured in Asia and gave it to the Karnataka State government for protection. Now, apparently drawing from our experience the Karnataka government has declared plans to secure four other corridors and have allocated 34 crores = $8.5 million US for doing so! IFAW’s original expenditure was far less even if you include staff et cetra! What appears to be a classic example of what a well thought out intervention can do for wildlife and animals around the world…

With thanks,

Vivek

PS: The article is below:

Forest dept makes some way for jumbos (India)
Jayashree Nandi, Times of India

August 4, 2010

BANGALORE: The jumbos will finally heave a sigh of relief! After years of man-elephant conflicts, the Karnataka forest department has begun acquiring forest-land crucial for elephant corridors.

The Karnataka forest department has proposed to acquire a huge chunk of land near the Bannerghatta National Park, which serves as a corridor, but has been badly encroached upon by human habitation and infrastructure.

Principal chief conservator of forests B K Singh said the Rs 34-crore Rationalization of Elephant Corridors and Consolidation of Boundaries Project involves relocating habitations. However, whether or not the Centre funds the project remains to be seen.

The project has several components. Apart from purchase of land from private parties, Rs 11.9 crore will be spent on buying agricultural land and around Rs 10.26 crore for building houses.

At least four corridors need to be acquired to ease their movement -- one near Bannerghatta National Park, two near Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary linking the Cauvery wildlife sanctuary and one near Bandipur Tiger Sanctuary.

Recently, the corridor that connects Kollegal forest division to Biligiri Rangaswamy temple, was purchased, and transferred to the Karnataka government by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). For the 25.5 acre Kollegal (Edayarhalli-Doddasampige) corridor, land under private ownership was purchased by the WTI and its partner, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The corridor connects Kollegal forest division and Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary. It's the first in Asia to be privately purchased and made part of a protected area. On similar lines, the state forest department plans to purchase land for these corridors.

"The Centre has some queries about the Bannerghatta land acquisition proposal and we'll revert on them. I hope the proposal is cleared. One corridor has been acquired by WTI and we have to gradually acquire the rest," B K Singh told TOI.

Recently, after 12 deaths were reported in about three months due to man-elephant conflict, the forest department upgraded the projects to cover borders with solar fencing and to equip the anti-depredation camps better. But setting up the corridors is key to reducing such conflicts, according to experts.

"We suggested buying of critical parts of land. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority funds should be used for strategic land acquisition. We need proactive solutions to minimize conflicts, apart from immediate response measures," said managing trustee, Wildlife First, Praveen Bhargav. He added that conflicts have intensified because there's no land use policy, and states with a large elephant population like Orissa, Assam and Karnataka have been badly affected.

CORRIDORS TO BE ACQUIRED

Karadikal- Mahdeshwar corridor near Bannerghatta National Park -- 1km long, 300-00 m wide

Talli corridor in Bangalore Rural and Tamil Nadu - 2km long, 1km wide

Yediyarhalli-Doddasampige corridor - Acquired by WTI

Kanyanpura-Moyar near Bandipura

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3 years ago

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