Save Elephant Calves from Drowning in Unused Wells

by Wildlife Trust of India
Save Elephant Calves from Drowning in Unused Wells
Save Elephant Calves from Drowning in Unused Wells
Save Elephant Calves from Drowning in Unused Wells
Save Elephant Calves from Drowning in Unused Wells
Save Elephant Calves from Drowning in Unused Wells
Save Elephant Calves from Drowning in Unused Wells

Project Report | Jul 31, 2015
Traps to Safety: Covering abandoned open wells

By Sonali Agarwal | Intern

The villages of Chota Changru, Bara Changru, and Bantha Reladih in Jharkhand’s Ranchi Forest Division are located in a very close proximity to the forest. Many open wells are constructed in and around the farmlands for irrigating the crop fields in the villages. Often, these farmers abandon these wells once they dry.

Habitat fragmentation and degradation compels the migratory and resident elephant herds to enter into crop fields in search of food and water. The elephants especially the calves that enter the area are unable to detect these open wells around the crop fields   because of the foliage and the tall weeds around the wells.  These wells become a death trap for the calves and other wildlife that fall inside and are unable to escape. During the years 2012 to 2014, five cases have been reported where the elephant calves have fallen inside these open wells. Although the villagers and the Forest Department authorities were successful in rescuing three calves in time, but the remaining two could not be rescued and died.

 A project was initiated in conjunction with the Forest department, local organization “Jungle Boy Trust” in the year 2013, with funding and technical assistance from WTI. The aim of the project was to build a wall around the sunken wells using stones and mortar that were located in the pathways frequently visited by the elephants. The aim was to help the elephants and other wildlife to easily detect the wells and hence avoid falling into them.

Along with the main purpose to eradicate elephant deaths caused by open wells, the project was also successful in spreading awareness amongst the villagers by depicting posters and conservation messages on the walls of the wells and by involving local people in the project.

 A total of nine wells have been covered in the villages of Chota Changru, Bara Changru, and Bantha Reladih since the project started. Regular field monitoring indicates the project is successful in avoiding any incidences of elephant deaths caused due to falling into the wells since they have been covered. Though, the project addressed the critical abandoned wells in a targeted region, there are  still many more open wells remaining in the neighboring villages that are dangerous.

 It is now time to restart the project in a new site, assess the wells there and cover the ones that pose a threat so that the elephants in Jharkhand can traverse their traditional paths safely once again.


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Apr 14, 2015
Jharkhand Wells: Death traps for Elephants

By Debobroto Sircar | Project Lead, Wild Aid

Jun 23, 2014
Three wells secured!

By Amrit Menon | Project Officer, Wild Aid

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Organization Information

Wildlife Trust of India

Location: Noida, Uttar Pradesh - India
Project Leader:
Samruddhi Kothari
Assistant Manager
Noida , Uttar Pradesh India

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