The World Land Trust aims to protect and sustainably manage natural ecosystems of the world, to conserve their biodiversity with emphasis on threatened habitats and endangered species. Developing partnerships with local individuals, communities and organisations helps to engage support and commitment among the people who live in project areas. Raising awareness of the need for conservation, leads to improved understanding, and generate support through education, information and fundraising.
After much research, the Wildlife Trust of India has published a comprehensive list of 88 corridors throughout India that are critical to the long term survival of the Asian Elephant. Corridors comprise the unprotected lands between fragments of protected areas. These areas are increasingly human dominated, resulting in high levels of human-wildlife conflict (destruction of crops, buildings and even human life). Securing the corridors involves sensitising local communities to the option of voluntarily relocating outside the conflict zones to safer areas, with their own land and improved housing. It would also have great conservation value, preventing further fragmentation of the continuous forest habitat by encroachment from urban areas, as well as providing continued refuge for tiger, elephant, sambar, marsh crocodile, gharial and over 575 species of bird. This will be done through:
- Prioritising seven corridors in Corbett National Park, Uttaranchal State
- Initiating a sensitisation programme to introduce the concept of establishing elephant corridors to local communities and key conservationists
- Successfully securing the highest priority corridor by December 2011
Seven corridors were prioritised in April 2010. From these, one corridor stood out as needing priority action to alleviate severe conflict between 400 families in 3 villages, and wildlife including Tigers, Leopards and Wild Boar which use the Elephant corridor. This corridor – the Chilkiya-Kota corridor -is 5.5 square kilometres of land between 2 protected areas. It is used extensively by wildlife passing between the 2 protected areas, and people living and farming in the area. Dialogue with the local communities progressed slowly until October 2010 when a series of tiger attacks on people sadly led to the death of 7 people in or immediately adjacent to the corridor. The local community has now confirmed that they are in favour of relocation. A site for the communities to be relocated to is now being sought, in full consultation with them, and it is hoped that they, and the wildlife in the remaining corridor will be fully protected in 2011/12. To quote the Wildlife Trust of India’s Executive Director Vivek Menon, ‘‘These large animals need space, and they will kill you in order to get that space. I have only one solution – give them space’. To watch a short amateur video of a wild tiger passing by people in an elephant corridor click here.
Following EOCA’s donation of €30,000, a generous donor to the World Land Trust promised to match funds and so this has bought the total support received and leveraged from EOCA to €60,000.