An elephant-friendly tea garden in Assam, allows the wild animal to migrate freely and more safely, without falling victim to human-elephant conflict. By Tanvi Jain

 

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Tenzing Bodosa, a tea farmer in Assam runs an elephant-friendly tea garden in Udalguri district, for the conservation of the mammal. While most tea gardens in India have imposed a threat to the lives of these wild animals with their deep drainage ditches, harmful pesticides and electric fences, this garden allows free movement of elephants without any threat of injury. 

 

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During migrations, elephants have to pass through the otherwise dangerous tea gardens, where they often end up encountering hostile humans, thereby becoming victim to human-elephant conflict. 

However, the workers in Bodosa’s tea garden let them roam freely resulting in reduction of any injury, or death. The garden even avoids use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers which are poisonous for them.  

Another interesting fact about this tea garden is that here the tea fields end, and the jungle begins. Unlike other tea growers, who cut down plants eaten by animals, Bodosa’s farm plants bamboo, star fruit and other plants which the elephants love to eat.  

Bodosa’s garden has been certified as the world’s only elephant-friendly tea farm, by the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. Moreover, he has also managed to train as many as 30,000 farmers on his tea farming practices.

 

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The place is often flocked by tourists in large numbers who are allowed to stay for months, volunteer, and taste the different varieties of organic tea grown here.  

As per reports, India is home to over 27,000 elephants, with Assam having the maximum number of elephants followed by Karnataka. However, with increasing practices of poaching, the population has seen a major decline in number in over 75 years.  

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