Cycling for Elephants! Initiative by The Shola Trust in Gudalur – Tamil Nadu

We are working with the Make a Difference (MaD) initiative to organise a cycling fund-raiser for our work around ‘elephants in the matrix’. The ‘conflict vs coexistence’ (and larger sharing vs sparing) debate is of course vibrant, but most our work is in human dominated/matrix habitats in the Nilgiris. Elephants and people have always been here, and will continue to be here, and there is no choice but to get along!

Borrowing some ideas from work by the Nature Conservation Foundation in Valparai, we are looking at a range of coexistence solutions.

Over the next two years, among other things, we hope to:
1. Setup an SMS based early warning and elephant monitoring system.
2. Better understand how indigenous communities have been dealing with elephants and facilitate cross-learning with some of the newer immigrants into the region.
3. Work with local communities and land owners and come up with estate/village based coexistence plans, which can hopefully feed into local and regional policy.
4. Identify individual elephants/herds and monitor how they move through the landscape.

So in addition to more formal donor based funding, we are keen to have some more flexible funds for a little more flexibility, and are trying out this crowd sourced approach. I will also be cycling 300km from Bangalore to the Nilgiris, starting on the 7th of February! Ramesh Madan and Arun Kumar who work with The Shola Trust, from the Bettakurumba and Kattunayakan tribes respectively, will be cycling and are looking for sponsors. Arun lives right at the edge of Mudumalai and interacts with elephants on an almost daily basis to get to
Gudalur!

Please pass this around to anyone you think will be interested, or drop me a line if you want to contribute anything yourself.

Thanks and Regards,
Tarsh

More links:
An old blogpost about Ramesh and his interaction with an elephant:
http://tarshthek.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/human-elephant-no-conflict/
Sanctuary Asia’s feature on The Shola Trust:
http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/resources/ngo-profiles/585-ngo-profiles/4448-the-shola-trust.html
Go!MaD trip coverage in the Indian Express:
http://newindianexpress.com/cities/bangalore/article1432894.ece
Indian Express Article on human-elephant coexistence in the Gudalur
Landscape: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/an-elephant-in-my-garden/1032515/
The Make a Difference (MaD) website: www.madcycletours.in
The Make a Difference facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Go-MAD-Cycle-Tours/150794611693614?fref=ts
The Shola Trust Website: www.thesholatrust.org


The Shola Trust
27th Mile, Ooty Road,
Gudalur, The Nilgiris.
TN – 643211.
India.
www.thesholatrust.org

Source: email from Tarsh Thekaekara, Shola Trust, 29 January 2013

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Accord | Ashwini community health programme | Gudalur | Shola TrustViswa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust

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