Peaceful coexistence with elephants: Avoiding human-animal conflict as part of tribal culture – Tamil Nadu

Shruti Agarwal, Gudalur, 30 September 2013

A Bettakurumba man watches a herd of elephants at close quarters | Read the full blog and view more photos here >>

Coexisting with elephants would seem unthinkable and impossible to most of us. Yet adivasis in Gudalur have done so for generations and continue to do so. They share their home, the forest, with elephants. Their kids take paths frequented by elephants while going to school. We wondered, what has been the basis of this coexistence? Is it their understanding of elephant behaviour acquired over generations of sharing space with them? Is it cultural tolerance? Or is it faith? While each factor contributes significantly, faith emerged as an undisputed winner. […]

It is easy for me and others to dismiss these stories as mere superstitions and myths. But the fact is that whilst many parts of India express alarm at a human-elephant conflict, these communities have managed peaceful coexistence for hundreds of years. Is it possible that something in these time-tested practices holds value for our understanding of how to live with elephants?

Source: Living with Elephants:Stories of Faith | At the Edge of Existence
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Date Visited: Fri Oct 04 2013 11:13:18 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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