South Bengal Elephant Corridors

The fragmented and patchy forests in south Bengal have become one of the hotspots of human-elephant conflict in India. It has resulted in loss of lives of humans as well as pachyderms.

Highlights

  • Conflict often led to law-and-order problems.
  • In November 2021, around 50 elephants came within 5 km of east Burdwan town. This incident prompted the district administration to impose prohibit orders across some gram panchayats in the region.

Death Toll

In between 2014 and 2019, around 2,381 human deaths were recorded in elephant attacks across India. Out of these, 403 were reported from West Bengal, accounting for 16 per cent of the total death. West Bengal is home to less than 3% of the elephant population. It has recorded a high death count of pachyderms in conflicts.

Restoration of elephant corridors

Minimising elephant-human conflict is pressing need of this region. So, wildlife experts and organisations have now taken up task to undertake ecological restoration of elephant corridors in the south Bengal region. Degradation of forest has not started because of increased agricultural activities in this region but also because of participatory joint forest management like community forestry. Thus, an ecologist from Uttarayan Wildlife, Diya Banerjee, has been leading the five-year restoration project. The project aims to create a balanced ecosystem, so that humans and animals can coexist in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

What is Elephant Corridor?

Elephant corridor is a narrow strip of land, which connects two large habitats of elephants. It is significant for reducing animal fatalities because of accidents and other reasons. Thus, fragmentation of forests makes the corridor more significant to preserve migratory corridors.

What is the need of protecting elephant corridors?

There is a need of protecting elephant corridors, because movement of elephants is essential for ensuring that their populations are genetically viable. It also helps in regenerating forests on which other species depend. As per data, around 40% of elephant reserves are vulnerable, because they are not within protected parks and sanctuaries.

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