The Asian elephant, once prevalent throughout many areas of India, is now listed as an endangered species by the Indian Government and included on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Asian elephant populations have declined 50% over three generations and now number only around 40,000. Each species of elephant faces its own unique threats to its continued existence.
The Asian elephant is a “keystone species” meaning they play a crucial role in the ecosystem because they help to maintain forest clearing and distribute the seeds of trees and shrubs.
Why is the Asian Elephant Endangered?
- Rapid human population growth
- Shrinking and fragmented elephant habitat
- Major reductions in elephant “exclusive zones” and “buffer zones;”
- Small populations, inbreeding and disease
- Increased human-elephant conflicts, including poaching; and
- An extraordinary increase in railway accidents, resulting from the Indian government’s decision to increase the range, size, and speed of railways through elephant habitats.
Unlike African elephants threatened by large scale poaching, elephants in India can protected by:
- Organizing community-led on the ground interventions;
- Eliminating the Indian Railway exemption from the Environmental Impact Assessment process; and
- Developing broad-based public support for elephant protection.
Earth Day Network India (EDN-India) has launched a campaign to:
- Initiate public interest litigation against the Indian government to eliminate the exemption for railway activities.
- Launch a campaign build and mobilize a broad national citizen’s movement to protect the Asian Elephants, Rhinos and Tigers.
- Develop and implement a comprehensive protection plan, including a simple but effective Early Warning System to stop elephant deaths from railway accidents.
- Grow an environmental stewardship ethic among community leaders and local government leaders.
To save the Asian elephant from extinction, Earth Day Network is joining with community leaders, lawyers, school children, elephant experts, teachers, and local government officials in an ambitious effort. Please help support this campaign.
Meet Ruchira Gupta
EDN’s advisor is Ruchira Gupta, a globally recognized expert in sex trafficking. Ruchira directed the award winning film “Land of the Missing Children” about sex trafficking in Alipurduar-New Jalpaiguri, the same area where EDN will conduct the pilot program. Ruchira received the Clinton Global Leadership Award and has also received recognition in the United Kingdom’s House of Lords and at the United Nations.
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