Wayanad Corridor

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Rise in the movement of animals in the Wayanad Elephant Corridor

Wayanad Elephant Corridor Project: Success Story

Tuesday, 8th September 2020


Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has submitted a report last month and the report reveals that across the last four years unencumbered movement of elephants in the Thirunelli-Kudrakote elephant corridor in the Wayanad district of Kerala has increased significantly. So, has increased the movement of other animals like spotted deer and tigers in the same area. This positive change is but the outcome of the protection granted by the state.

 

The Wayanad corridor came into being under the initiative of the Kerala government about 15 years back. The WTI plus various other national as well as international NGOs joined hands with the government of Kerala in this noble initiative. This corridor boasts of being the first of its kinds in the whole of South Asia. The villagers who resided directly in and along the elephants’ route were asked to move out voluntarily and they were relocated to some other place.

 

The Thirunelli-Kudrakote corridor spanning to 2,200 acres is positioned in the singular tri-junction of the three South Indian states, namely Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In all, about 37 acres of land were secured in order to make sure that the corridor stays unbroken, thereby connecting about 6,500 elephants, and other animal species too.

 

Encouraged by the success of the project, the Government of Kerala has started a procedure to “acquire and secure” every such elephant corridor within the state.

 

“There are seven elephant corridors in Kerala. Of these, two are already secure and need no land acquisition. One has been secured for us by the WTI. We have initiated acquisition in the remaining four corridors and plan to escalate the process,” said Surendra Kumar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Kerala.

 

The greatest win in this Wayanad Elephant Corridor project happens to be the relocation. Nearly 200 villagers were relocated elsewhere to make sure that an unbroken elephant corridor can be achieved. Each of them were provided with pucca houses, in lieu of the kuchcha thatched huts they resided in previously, and also were given the assurance that the crops they had grown will not be ravaged by the elephants. Before these villagers were shifted, roads were built, power lines were laid and also water supply facilities were provided in the areas to which they were shifted.

 

The WTI report further pointed out that the villagers have given their testimony with regard to the shifting. They said that they are not in conflict with elephants anymore and their yearly earnings have spiked from Rs 41,040 p.a/ per family to Rs 1,75,080  p.a/per family. Saved crops, good access to the markets and other jobs have contributed to the boost in their income in their new residential areas. Those areas have schools and healthcare centres in vicinity. Villagers are approaching the healthcare centres for vaccination and also there has been a marked decline in the illiteracy rate among the villagers from 33% to nearly 28%.

 

In another story of success for this project, a couple of years back, the Forest Department had taken pictures of the first movement of Tiger in this corridor on camera. The last such sighting was in the month of March.

 

 

Source: Indian Express 

 


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