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November 15, 2017

HSI/India launches tip line to report illegal threats to elephants in West Bengal

Up to INR 10,000 reward offered for reporting causes of human-wildlife conflict in the state

Humane Society International/India

  • Female Asian elephant with her calves in Kaziranga National Park, India. Aditya Dicky Singh/Alamy

Humane Society International/India has launched a tip-line for people to report cases of illegal activities in the existing West Bengal elephant corridors as a pilot project in the districts of Bankura and Jhargram. The disturbing image of mobs hurling tar bombs at an Asian elephant and her calf was taken at the border of these districts. HSI/India hopes the tip line will help reduce the rising human-wild elephant conflict situation in the state of West Bengal and the risk it poses to these animals.

The organization is also offering a reward of up to 10,000 INR for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for such illegal activities, such as mining, installation of high-voltage wires and human encroachment. HSI/India urges people to report such activities at +918899117773.

Instances of human-elephant conflict can escalate quickly to critical levels, where it threatens the safety of both the animals and humans. Another consequence of the repeated occurrences of conflict is the growing animosity between humans and animals that is leading to a further lowering of levels of tolerance in humans.

N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India, said, “Elephants are an integral part of our ecosystem and finding effective ways to live alongside them is the key to conflict reduction and management in the near future. Illegal encroachment and other non-forestry activities seriously threaten the population of elephants and increase the potential for conflict several fold. We hope the tip line and reward will encourage people to report illegal activities in the region.”

Become a Wildlife Defender.

The Asian elephant is a protected species listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. While erection of solar powered fencing to ward off wild animals from agricultural estates with a mild jolt is permitted, protection of estates and farms with 220V of electricity is prohibited as it has the potential to kill any animal or human who comes in contact with the live wire.

HSI/India supports the limited use of electric fencing in certain human-animal conflict situations, but only as long as the fence is professionally installed, maintained and monitored, and the voltage is low enough to prevent harm to wildlife. HSI/India has also urged the West Bengal government to develop and implement a crowd control protocol in human – wildlife conflict situations and offered its services for the same.

Media Contact: Vidhi Malla, vmalla@hsi.org, 9560103078

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