Reckless land use across India in the name of economic growth is accelerating habitat loss, driving elephants into human spaces to find food, and resulting in senseless deaths-human & elephant. We're focused on returning their lost land and creating corridors in the southern state of Kerala, so they can move freely between forest patches. This could reduce human elephant conflict & thwart inbreeding that causes genetic disorders & untimely deaths. India has 55% of global Asian elephants @>29,700
In a critical elephant habitat, there are rubber & banana plantations that are blocking elephants from reaching river to drink water, making it unsafe. Habitat loss caused by human encroachment is already pushing elephants out of the forests and into human dwellings, leading to senseless deaths- human and elephant. Around 600 tribal people live near the forest fringes. Retaliatory killings, such as electrocution/poisoning, collision with trains& trucks are pushing elephants closer to extinction.
VFAES has partnered with Kerala Forest Department to expand corridor and transform 58-acre plot of plantation land into elephant habitat. Land value, including crop productivity, has been negotiated. Kerala has >5,000 elephants, spread across 4 ranges - part of Western Ghats. It's among the top 10 global biodiversity hotspots. Nilambur, aka the Valley of Biodiversity, in Malappuram district, is the focal point of this project. 1st phase entails buying 1-acre land @$30K. Demand for land is high!
The Nilambur corridor will increase landscape connectivity and facilitate elephant movements between two fragments, thus minimizing the risk of inbreeding and ensuring long-term species survival. The 500 mt. corridor will be expanded to 1KM, balance of forest restored. Securing corridors that elephants have been traditionally using will protect elephants and prevent conflict. This project will prevent capture of "rogue" elephants and "crop raiders", allowing elephants to roam where they belong.