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Exemplary deed @ Kollegal

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Nothing could have made a better Christmas gift from Santa for jumbos! A crucial corridor used by more than a thousand elephants in Kollegal was purchased by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and transferred to the state government on Thursday.
The 25.4-acre Kollegal (Edayarhalli Dod-dasampige) Elephant Corridor land was purchased under private ownership supported by its partner the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), in 2007.
The corridor connects Kollegal forest division to Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary (BRT WLS). With a pending proposal to incorporate it into the BRT WLS, Kollegal corridor has become the first in Asia to be purchased by a non-profit organization and made part of a protected area.

For the full text in the TOI, click here

May their (WTI & IFAW) tribe increase!

Muralidhar Rao


murali772's picture

interesting comments

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The following responses on the Hasiru Usiru Yahoogroup, I expect, members will find interesting:

SR responded with:
Great indeed, this Elephant migration corridor is very very crucial as it is a link between Eastern and Western ghats.It connects forests of Tamilnadu like Sengadi,Dimbam etc with Karnataka forests like MM hills ,BR hills,Cauvery WLS etc They have been using this route from thousands(millions? ) of years or more we dont know. Corridor Improves genetic mix and these elephants promote biodiversity by seed dispersal through dung and other ways. This region has a diverse mix of floral species of E W Ghats, probably one of the most biodiverse regions in S.India.

CR came in with:
I will sooner trust a starving pack of wild-dogs to spare their prey, than believe that the Government and its "beneficiaries" will abide by the faith that these organizations have in transferring the land to them. If they can put one more rupee into their bottomless pockets, they will "denotify", "convert", "acquire" - which words are synonymous with "looting" - the land. Maybe the organizations should have kept the land in their possession and just allowed the elephants to pass through freely.

No I am not cynical. Just realistic.

LS added:
These strategies seem very dramatic, but do have their social consequences. One is that with loads of money we could purchase out poor and marginal farmers tilling lands that are in wildlife corridors. In most private purchases, the deals aren't always transparent, so one never knows if farmers gained or lost.

That apart, there is the other issue that a more capable conservation strategy has been abandoned while laying down our faith at the altar of capitalism, that such land purchases operate from. It is a model that has been chiselled to perfection by American conservation organisations... leading to displacement and dislocation, and even criminalisation, of native communities.

Further, this romanticises wildlife conservation to such an extent, that only monied conservation initiatives are promoted as successful. Leaving aside the more complex but sustainable strategy of making villages custodians of forest lands.

In simple terms, elite conservation strategies these are.

SR came back with:
This is in fact romantisizing wildlife conservation but finally helps to a small extent. This corridor in question is only less than 2.5 km wide when viewed from atop a hill closeby. My friend purchased a 2.5 acre land right here and has removed fencing and dosent cultivate crops. He has left it open for migration and he is planning to grow elephant fodder here.

Here the people are animal friendly to a great extent that when they have standing crop they solar fence the land but during migration season starting october to march they dismantle the fences and my friend persuades them to do so.They are all tribals and are very eco friendly.

All these so called conservation organisations do have vested interests.

But the basic attitude of friendly locals determines free migration of wildlife and real conservation.

One major problem in this corridor is that a few years back funds were alloted for EPTs (elephant proof trenches) and some idiot contractors dug trenches right ACROSS the corridor with JCBs(now banned) for the reason that a certain kilometerage of specicified trenches had to be dug out with allocated funds. Today the elephants have diverted from their original migration route and pass dangerously close to Boodipadaga village. I approached the DCF and explained the above. He reacted immediately and assesed the situation. Although he wants to fill up the trenches immediately he is not able to because the trenches are too deep(for filling with manual labour) and he will have to wait for more funds to flatten these obstructions to wildlife migration.

By creating an 'Elephant corridor' we are fooling all living creatures and ourselves because we have basically robbed them of their habitat for growing crops and then we pretend to conserve wildlife by these stunts... so to say. When 'human activity' ceases the word 'conservation' loses meaning automatically.

Anyway much attention needs to be paid to such crucial areas as of now.


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