Text Messaging Helps Elephants and People Coexist

December 29, 2015 - Technology is helping protect people from roaming elephants. Cell phones are ubiquitous in rural Valparai, India. And so are Asian elephants. Now the former are being used to keep people safe from the latter. Thousands of people in Valparai work on tea and coffee plantations that are nestled between protected areas—and act as elephant passageways. Since 1994, more than 40 people in the area have been killed in encounters with elephants. Research has shown that most of those deaths could have been prevented if people had had sufficient warning. That’s where the Nature Conservation Foundation’s early warning system comes in. The system began as a crawl on the local cable TV station and now also includes red indicator beacons and bulk text messages, alerting people who live and work in the area to the presence of elephants. The death rate from elephant encounters has dropped since the advent of the warning system, helping people and elephants coexist.

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"An elephant early warning system saves lives in Tamil Nadu."