This project aims to create safe shared spaces for people and elephants, using science based solutions. In West Bengal state, India, human and elephant deaths are alarmingly high at approx. 40 people and six elephants per year. Research suggests, accidental encounters occur at night as people run into elephants, resulting in human casualties and animosity towards elephants. Tragedies can be averted using basic safety practices, Eg: flashlights in the dark to alert elephants of human presence. Click Here to learn more: https://bit.ly/2CtPY7f
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Since the launch of this initiative there has been no human or elephant deaths in the 3,000 KM area that we have covered so far. Despite the 4th wave of COVID lockdowns, as of April 2022, we have distributed more than 2,000 solar rechargeable flashlights, and our tea plantation community leaders continue to conduct capacity-building programs for villagers on avoiding unintentional nighttime encounters with elephants. Our project has impacted 52 West Bengal villages, 4,000 families, and 15,000 people in a landscape where humans encounter elephants frequently. By simply flashing the lights we have been able to distribute with the support of our donors, elephants can move freely and safely through the tea plantations without any tragedies. As an additional benefit, deaths from snakebites have also decreased.
The workers also feel safe and secure while returning home in the dark, consistently employing their flashlights at night. And here’s why this simple solution is effective:
The flashlights help humans see the elephants
The flashlights alert the elephants to human presence
It is a collaborative effort between diverse groups of people including forest officials, villagers, and others
And here’s an interesting fact to help understand the power of flashlights in saving lives. Elephants can see the flashlights very well at night because the beams are primarily yellow and blue, which the elephants can detect.
Given the massive success of our flashlights campaign in West Bengal, another team in Maharashtra state wanted us to help them too. In collaboration with our excellent grassroots partners - Nature Mates and SAGE Foundation -, we have distributed around 75 flashlights in Maharashtra state. They will alert elephants and people, averting senseless tragedies.