Human-Elephant Conflict In Karnataka
Read how members of the voluntary organisation Vanodaya Wildlife Trust undertake exceptional efforts to support the Forest Department and victims of human-elephant conflict around the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka.
On November 15, 2018, Sanctuary's Project Leader and head of Vanodaya, Ashwin Gurusrikar presented a LIC policy and cheque worth 18 lakh rupees to Manjula, the widow of a forest watcher who lost his life during an elephant driving operation. Along with this contribution, members of Vanodaya liaised with the Forest Department to secure a permanent job for Manjula as a cook with the department. Thus ensuring steady income and financial security for the family.
Ashwin and his team also played a crucial role in mitigating a potentially dangerous situation that arose after a farmer was killed by an elephant in early November. Sixty five year old Thammaiah from Hegganur village was fatally injured while trying to chase an elephant that was raiding his crops. Though the Forest Department rushed to his aid, Thammaiah died on the way to Victoria Hospital in Bangalore. His death led to agitation amongst the community in Hegganur that has been grappling with human-elephant conflict, and resentment towards the forest department. Project Leader Ashwin along with Vanodaya volunteer Hareesh B.N. responded to the situation by reaching Victoria Hospital, helping the deceased's family complete formalities, and consoling the aggrieved community. It was with their support and conviction that the community accepted the compensation and peacefully cremated the body the same evening. In the past, such conflict situations have led to violence towards the Forest Department.
"Wildlife conservation is dependent on the support of communities that live in and around Protected Areas. It is incumbent upon us to be sensitive to their losses and extend help in times of tragedy. Conflict situations can often spiral out of control, and so we are grateful for the work being done by Ashwin and his team of volunteers to assist the Forest Department and the community, and bridge any gaps in communication between the two," said Cara Tejpal who leads the Mud on Boots Project for Sanctuary.
Sanctuary's support to Ashwin Gurusrikar and the Vanodaya Wildlife Trust has been made possible by Sula Wines. To support grassroots conservationists like Ashwin, write to