Apeejay Tea and WWF-India have joined hands to manage human-elephant conflict in Assam’s Tea gardens. If the partnership does lead to a solution, it will also bring relief to parts of south and north Bengal where houses and crops are damaged when elephant herds stray into villages.
Every year, at least 300 people and 40-50 elephants die in the country due to human-animal conflict. This is primarily triggered by displacement of elephants from forests due to human encroachment. Last year, Sangrampur village near Bengal’s Basirhat was terrorized by 130 tuskers that went on a rampage. Sonitpur district of Assam. a hub of tea estates, is similarly affected, leading to huge crop loss.
In Sonitpur, there have been 206 human and 131 elephant fatalities between 1996 and 2009. More than half of these occurred in tea estates. Of the 245 people killed between 2001 and 2014 in Sonitpur due to human-elephant conflict, 128 persons were from tea estates.