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Kodagu persistent Human-Elephant conflict, Karnataka, India

Elephants and humans are at conflict in Kodagu due to coffee plantations, intensive agriculture. The situation could worsen since the government is mulling over more infrastructures like rail lines and roads.


Kodagu is a district occupying an area of 4102 square kilometers in the Western Ghats of Southwestern Karnataka. It is a part of one of the largest Wild Asian Elephant ranges harboring India’s largest elephant population. As per the census (Karnataka Forest Development Corporation Vice-Chairperson, Padmini Ponnappa in Dec.2017 to Bangalore Mirror) the elephant population in Kodagu is 1800-2000. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kodagu persistent Human-Elephant conflict, Karnataka, India
State or province:Karnataka
Location of conflict:Kodagu
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Land
Live Animals
Fruits and Vegetables
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project details

There are different reasons which are causing the Human- Elephant Conflict-

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Project area:410,200
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectUnknown as there are different reasons causing this conflict.
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:500,000 to 5.550,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/1977
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coorg Wildlife Society
Cauvery Nadhi Swatchata Andolana
Save River Cauvery Forum
Kodava Samaja Ammathi
Coorg Wellness Foundation
Clean Coorg Initiative
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
The Kodavas (anglicised as Coorgs), are a tribe from the region of Kodagu in Karnataka state.
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:1. Strengthening of Elephant Corridors.
2. Maintenance of the Buffer zone by making water and food available for the animals in their natural habitats. Planting fruit plants in the forests.
3.. Use of Solar fences to avoid entry of the animal
4. Night Traffic ban.
5. Radio collaring of elephants.
6. The wider application of electronic gadgets and social media to alert people.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Even though we know that the main reason of this Human Elephant Conflict is the shrinking of the natural habitats due to the human encroachment, we are not thinking about this aspect much. Like in this case, we are not ready to return back the lands to the forests or to reduce the encroachment by reducing the coffee plantation. As Coffee is a cash crop and yields a lot of benefit, decreasing its production is not thought as a solution. People are moving blindfolded on this path of development and are not able to see the destruction it is causing to the nature.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

The NEWS Minute- 9/3/2018
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The NEWS Minute- 19/2/2018
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References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Spatio-temporal patterns of human-wildlife conflicts at

different scales in the north Western Ghats biodiversity

hotspot, India
[click to view]

Seeing the Elephant in the

Room: Human-Elephant

Conflict and the ETF Report
[click to view]
[click to view]

Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human–Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India
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Human–wildlife conflict or coexistence: what do we want?
[click to view]

Economic and Political Weekly. Forest Shrines and Sacred Groves. Vol. 53, Issue No. 26-27, 30 Jun, 2018. Veena Poonacha.

The article delineates the life-affirming values of caring for the earth among the Kodavas in Kodagu district, Karnataka. It argues that the coffee economy under colonial rule depleted the forestland, a trend exacerbated by the post-independence economic and forest policies. The full impact of these policies are apparent from the growing conflict in the area between wild elephants and humans.

[1] Mongabay, 25 Sept. 2019 ARATHI MENON, Can humans and elephants cohabit in Kodagu?
[click to view]

[2] Sep 29, 2019 · Arathi Menon. Elephants in Kodagu have adapted their behaviour to cope with the daily run-ins with humans
[click to view]

[3] The Hindu, R Krishna Kumar, 14 Febr. 2018. Elephant deaths strengthen opposition to Kodagu rail
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Other documents

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Current Science 2014 Elephants and humans are at conflict in Kodagu, Karanataka due to encroachment, intensive agriculture and other projects. This case explains the specific conflict issues in this region.
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Sign to warn motorists of an elephant crossing area in Somwarpet, Kodagu district. Credit: Abhishek N Chinnappa/Mongabay Elephants and humans are at conflict in Kodagu, Karanataka due to coffee plantations, intensive agriculture. The situation could worsen since the government is mulling more infrastructures like rail lines and roads.
[click to view]

Elephant Task Force
[click to view]

2014 Current Science
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Pranjal Bhujbal, Intern at Kalpavriksh, Pune
Last update19/08/2020
Conflict ID:3913
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