Elephants are endangered. Tea estates and other crops are a contributing factor. There are approximately 34,000 to 40,000 wild Asian Elephants left - India holds 60% of the population.
Deforestation has caused fragmentation of elephant habitat and has interrupted seasonal migration. The elephants cannot discern a tea garden from a forest and this is where the trouble starts.
Elephants are feared. They trample tea gardens, destroy land and homes and kill an average of 400 people a year. This is called Human Elephant Conflict or HEC. The goal is to recover and restore the natural/ biological corridors so elephants can safely move about without coming in contact with humans.
Elephants die because of retaliation killings- hunting, poisoning, trench trapping and electrocuting. They also struggle for food and get injured while crossing roadways.
A friend in Tamil Nadu, India, shared his personal account of an elephant incident. He said at 2 AM, the elephants started smashing the windows of his house. He was terrified that they would enter and kill him so he called the elephant squad. They arrived and blew horns to scare the herd out of the village. To reduce this type of conflict villages/homes are being relocated voluntarily so they are not in line with elephant migration.
Elephant conservation is paramount for their survival. The elephant is considered a keystone species meaning that they play a serious role in the ecosystem. Their habits are necessary for the survival of flora and fauna- they spread seeds, produce fertilizer, prune trees, open tree canopies, and aerate soil. They are highly intelligent with reasoning skills, emotions, empathy, sympathy and they need our help.
We at Petali Teas are committed to do what we can to help reduce human elephant conflict.
We have started an ELEPHANT APPROVED™ label program and will buy teas from planters who participate in elephant and/or biological conservation.
We are so excited to be working with a new organic tea company with elephant corridors. In addition, they have built a local tea processing cooperative so small farmers can make their own teas and sell at a fair price.
Petali Teas will be donating a portion of the sales from these teas to WLT/WTI - World Land Trust and Wildlife Trust of India - these organizations work on elephant corridor restoration and reforestation. We are also working on a plan to help families who are affected by the loss of a parent from elephant conflict.
Our goal is to spread the label program across North America and beyond… making consumers aware of this critical situation. Consumers and caring planters will drive change and help to save the elephants.
We have designed keepsake tea accessories and will be donating all of the profits to WLT/WTI - these items are being manufactured in India right now and will be available this summer.
Please join us in this conservation effort. The elephants and WLT/ WTI need your help.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
1.) Share. Spread the word and let people know what is happening to the elephants.
2.) Buy teas grown on estates committed to creating wildlife havens and reducing conflict.
3.) Buy Petali Teas ELEPHANT APPROVED™ teas.
4.) Buy Petali Teas ELEPHANT APPROVED™ accessories
5.) Ask your local tea shops and coffee houses to carry ELEPHANT APPROVED™ products.
6.) If you don’t like tea- go directly to WLT or WTI and donate online.
Please note that many of our tea gardens are not located near elephant corridors and do not infringe on the habitat of the species. Rest assured that when you buy a tea that is labeled ELEPHANT APPROVED™ your money will be donated to WLT or WTI.