Forest department requests govt to constitute trust for conservation of wild elephants (Coimbatore, India)


Times of India

Date Published

In order to provide financial support to conserve elephants in Coimbatore and Nilgiris forest divisions, the forest department recently requested the state government to constitute an ‘Elephant Conservation Foundation Trust’ (ECFT).

The department claimed that it has been getting meagre funds from the government to conserve the wild elephants. If the ECFT is setup, the forest department will utilize the funds generated from eco-tourism for elephant conservation in the two divisions.

Conversely, the Union government has facilitated for the establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation Trusts (TCFT) under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. These trusts are exclusively meant for tiger reserves, which have been established in all the four reserves including MTR (Mudhumalai Tiger Reserve), ATR (Anaimalai Tiger Reserve), STR (Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve) and KMTR ( Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve) in Tamil Nadu. The trusts are promoting efficiency in conservation of tiger habitats.

While the ATR and MTR have been getting 4 crore every year, STR gets 30 lakh under eco-tourism. These funds are then handed over to the TCFT for tiger conservation. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has been implementing ‘project tiger’ across the country to protect tigers in the country.

Forest department officials said that the Mudhumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) covers 33,000 hectares of forest area and has received 7 crore as fund from the NTCA for 2015-16. However, Coimbatore forest division that covers 49,000 hectares of forest area has received only 20,000 under the project elephant’ to conserve the elephant. The division is highly prone to human -elephant conflict.

The officials further said the state government did not sanction any fund to the forest department under the Asian-elephant anti-depredation scheme.

“If the state government constitutes the ECFT, we can use the funds generated from the eco-tourism department to protect the wild elephants” a senior forest officer said.