The elephant human interaction in India is a complex environmental issue. Elephants are both revered and feared by Indians. Both people and elephants can die when their paths intersect. Some farms in India are trying a different approach. They provide habitat corridors through their farms so elephants and other wildlife can pass through without harm. They train the nearby villagers and tea farm employees to not harass the elephants and to remain calm as they move from one patch of forest to another. Lake Missoula Tea Company values these conservation endeavors and will support tea farms with these values the best we can. One way to support this strategy is to buy tea with origins from these farms.
The Elephant Friendly™ certification is one way to support this work. What does this mean? The wild Asian Elephant population is in drastic decline throughout India (estimated population is 12,500). Elephants in India get hurt and die due to lack of forest habitat which cause conflicts with human, particularly around agricultural operations. Elephant Friendly™ certification, a Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) project, identifies farms that are free of electric fences, pesticides, and deep ditches and habitat corridors that provide safe passage for elephants. In addition, the tea farms are committed to organic and in an ecologically sound manner. Like many organic tea farms, they are completely alive with bugs, birds, elephants, and rich tasting tea.