Globally there are 40,000 Asian elephants; 27,300 housed in India. It is imperative to protect this endangered species in its last stronghold. However, relevant government ministries tend to operate in silos, which is driving wildlife crime and senseless tragedies. These ministries need to convene together, and commit to transparency, resource and knowledge sharing to protect the majestic elephants. Gentle Giant Summit will foster cooperation between government ministries, and protect elephants
The nexus of politics, commerce, and religion related to Kerala's elephants is complex. Cultural sentiments for elephants stir deep passion. Compounding the issue is the fact that pertinent state governmental agencies typically operate in silos and don't communicate with each other. These agencies are: Forest Department, including the biodiversity wing; Ministries of Tourism, Transport & Endowment; Animal Husbandry Department; Police Department; and India's Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
The Gentle Giant Summit to be held in November 2019 (in Kerala) is a participatory action research based conference, comprised of individual attendees from the above-listed agencies. Its purpose is to strengthen interagency communication and cooperation, and empower participating stakeholders to work in a collective manner, aided and abetted by knowledge, resources, and tools necessary to protect the imperiled Asian elephants, mitigate human elephant conflict and prevent senseless loss of lives.
The summit will articulate policies, legislation, laws, and legal loopholes pertaining to Asian elephants and their habitat. This will include an overview of the relationship between wildlife crime and terrorism. This kind of systems thinking approach will aid and abet an understanding of the interconnected issues involved in Asian elephant conservation, and foster open communication and collaboration for long-term preservation of Kerala's majestic elephants.