The elephant human interaction in India is a complex environmental issue. Elephants are both revered and feared by Indians. While it is true both people and elephants can die when their paths intersect, some tea farms in India are trying a different approach. They provide habitat corridors throughout their farms that the 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. One way to support this new strategy is to buy tea from these farms. Lake Missoula Tea Company values these conservation endeavors and will support these farms the best we can.
The Elephant Friendly™ certification is one way to support these farms. What does this mean? The wild Asian Elephant population is in drastic decline throughout India (the population is estimated to be 12,500). Elephants in India get hurt and die due to lack of forest habitat which cause conflicts with human, particularly around agricultural operations. The Elephant Friendly™ certification, a Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) project, identifies tea farms that are free of electric fences, pesticides, and deep ditches and habitat corridors that provide safe passage for elephants. In addition, these farms are committed to growing tea organically and in an ecologically sound manner. Like many organic tea farms, these farms are completely alive with bugs, birds, elephants, and rich tasting tea.