India | Fast-response phone system helps lessen human–wildlife conflicts near Bandipur, Nagahole NPs
Watching a majestic tiger, elephant or leopard in the wilderness of Bandipur or Nagarhole National Park, is dream come true for many. Nestled on the foothills of southern India’s Western Ghats, one of the 35 global biodiversity hotspots, these protected forests are treasure troves of wildlife. But for 36-year-old Swamy Pappanna, these wild animals are reasons to panic, rather than cheer.
A traditional farmer, his native village Kundkere lies two kilometers from Bandipur National Park. There, he owns about 1.9 hectares (4.7 acres) of land and grows bananas, onions, potatoes, sugarcane, millet, and groundnuts for a living. However, wild elephant herds have marauded his crops for the last seven years, causing him losses worth US$985 (70,000 Indian rupees). The proximity of his village and fields to the park and to traditional routes taken by Asian elephants as they disperse from one forest to another—combined with degradation of those forests and expansion of agriculture in the area—have increased encounters between elephants and people.