At a time when a recent survey found seven elephant corridors in the country impaired, the Asian Elephant Alliance, an umbrella initiative by five NGOs, has come together to secure 96 out of the 101 existing corridors used by elephants across 12 States in India.
What are elephant corridors?
Elephant corridors are narrow strips of land that connect two large habitats of elephants. They are also crucial to reduce animal fatalities due to accidents and other reasons. So fragmentation of forests makes it all the more important to preserve migratory corridors.
Why are elephant corridors important?
Forests that have turned into farms and unchecked tourism are blocking animals’ paths. Animals are thus forced to seek alternative routes resulting in increased elephant-human conflict. Weak regulation of ecotourism is severely impacting important habitats. The movement of elephants is essential to ensure that their populations are genetically viable. It also helps to regenerate forests on which other species, including tigers, depend.
Every year, India loses nearly 400 people and about 50 elephants to man-animal conflict due to ever shrinking habitat of animal. While most of tiger habitat falls within protected area, only 22% of elephant habitat has some kind of protection. Majority of elephant population in country is living around human dominated landscapes which have become hotbeds of human elephant conflict. Besides, elephants are also facing threat of extinction from habitat loss, along with ivory poaching.
There is hope!
The joint venture by Asian Elephant Alliance is aiming at raising £20 million (₹187.16 crore) to secure the 96 remaining elephant corridors, old and new, in the next ten years. The alliance joined hands to raise the mammoth sum as money was the main constraint in securing the land. NGOs Elephant Family, International Fund for Animal Welfare, IUCN Netherlands and World Land Trust have teamed up with WTI in the alliance.
There is more good news. This January, an Indiatimes report says that the Supreme Court of India held that elephants have the first right on the forest and added that humans cannot encroach upon elephant habitats and corridors.