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Saving 500 Elephants from Electrocution

In India's West Bengal state, 1-2 elephants die each year from accidental or deliberate electrocutions. But by November 2020 up to 10 elephants had been electrocuted. While some cases were caused by sagging wires, deliberate electrocutions have been surging during COVID lockdown, with farmers protecting their crops using illegal electrical fences. This pilot, based in Jalpaiguri district, aims to thwart elephant electrocution by using friendly fences and community outreach to create awareness.

In partnership with



VFAES partnered with Nature Mates and SNAP to help replace illegal electric fencing in West Bengal with biofriendly repellant fences and elephant friendly solar fencing. There have been no elephant raids in the two villages that used the biofriendly repellent fence, and we are now expanding to a third village. We had installed solar fencing in two villages last year, and recently finished the installation in a third village, while conducting community outreach and awareness campaigns. This has significantly reduced HEC with no elephant or human deaths in the area. Given the outstanding success of the solar fencing, the West Bengal Forest Department has asked VFAES to expand the project to adjacent villages.

The settlements of the estate are surrounded by forests on all sides and hence the need to ensure the safety of the local communities as well as the free movement of elephants and other wildlife. More than 500 families can sleep well at night, as the risk of elephant entry inside the settlements has been alleviated. This in turn will also ensure local acceptance of elephants.

We also test tried a bio-friendly concoction which was poured into bottles with holes at the top, so the smell would deter elephants. The good news is, villagers and elephants are responding positively to our potent concoction. It is a cost-effective solution to averting elephant electrocution, now being implemented in the Panighatta Forest Village, Nirpani under Panighatta Range in West Bengal.

In the 3000 Sq. Km area near the Gorumara National Park, where we’ve implemented such practical solutions, there hasn’t been a single elephant death caused by electrocution. It’s a win-win for people and elephants. Among other natural ingredients, our vegan formula contains chilly powder, garlic, cow dung, black salt (smells like rotten eggs), and other natural ingredients, aimed at deterring elephants from coming anywhere close to the farmland.

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