WCS – India has been actively involved in the study and conservation of the Asian Elephant. Monitoring the integrity and quality of wildlife habitats, threat assessment and conservation monitoring of key populations has been an integral part of our conservation approach for Asian elephants.

Elephant attacks were leading to a heavy loss of life, limb and crops in the bio-diversity hotspots of Jalpaiguri and Duars of northern West Bengal. With tea estates and agricultural lands regularly intersecting forests, these areas host a high human population and see large-scale movement of leopards and elephants.

Our study in association with the Duars Branch of Indian Tea Association, Tea Association of India, West Bengal Forest Department, Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, and Indian Institute of Science, has been exploring ways to resolve human-animal conflict through methods such as camera trappings of leopards and elephant drives, as well as providing compensation to humans.

Conservation can succeed only when it does not negatively impact humans, underlining the importance of local assistance in conservation efforts. The team has been working in more than 60 tea estates and over 40 villages in the region, with people in 17 high conflict areas being taught measures to avoid encounters from the wild.