World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12 to highlight the importance of preserving and protecting the world’s elephant population. Apart from the ever-present danger of poaching, environmentalists are becoming increasingly anxious about the rapidly shrinking wildlife habitats across the world. The less space we accord to biodiversity, the more we impinge upon the migration routes of elephants and push them into conflict with humans.
Bikrant Tiwary, CEO, and co-founder of social organisation Grow-Trees.com says, “All across the world, environmentalists, activists, organisations, and governments are trying to address this issue but there is a lot that remains unaddressed when it comes to mitigating and preventing human-elephant conflict. We need to collectively look for solutions that are not short-term.”
Afforestation, he believes, is the long-term solution to this problem and so Grow-Trees.com is planting millions of trees in Singhbhum Elephant Reserve, Jharkhand to repair fragmented migration routes, create sheltered and screened areas for elephants and expand habitats. Says Bikrant, “We are targeting areas which form a corridor for elephants that migrate from Odisha to West Bengal. Till now, we have planted a total of 6 million saplings and the restoration of the degraded areas included the planting of local tree species, weeding, and seeding apart from natural regeneration methods.”
To make this process collaborative, Grow-Trees.com also invited villagers from Laylam village to participate in the entire plantation activity and was able to generate around 490,000 workdays.
Says Bikrant, “We are committed to elephant conservation and also know that our health depends on the health of the planet and on the well-being of its eco-diversity. As climate change manifests in more and more obvious ways, trees help in the natural regeneration of forests and on maturing, tend to absorb approximately 20 kilograms of carbon every year. More vegetation also provides improved food sources for elephants and reduces the existing human-elephant conflicts. It is time to seriously think about what we are doing to our environment and we invite everyone, from individuals to corporations to donate trees with just a few clicks via our website. Every little step will make a big difference to our wildlife conservation efforts.”