NCF’s Ananda Kumar Wins Whitley Award

For his extraordinary work on mitigating human-elephant conflict in the Valparai plateau, Ananda has been awarded the prestigious Green Oscar at a ceremony in London last month.

Since 2002, Ananda has been studying elephants in the plateau where large expanses of rainforest have been flattened by tea and coffee plantations. Home to 75,000 workers, Valparai is also inhabited by 100 elephants who use the plantations as a pathway to get to other parts of the Anamalai rainforest.


Elephants have to pass through tea and coffee plantations to get to other parts of the Anamalai rainforest

To increase people’s tolerance of elephants and reduce unexpected encounters in the dark, Ananda’s early warning system called the ‘Elephant Information Network’ ensures that text alerts are sent to people who reside within a few kilometres from where an elephant is spotted. Elephant locations are also broadcast on local TV stations in the evenings, and red warning indicators placed in strategic locations on the plateau light up via SMS.

The warning system has reduced the average number of human deaths due to surprise encounters with elephants from three to one in the past decade. Incidents of elephants damaging property have also reduced by half, now that locals are better informed about their locations.


To know more about Ananda’s work on human-elephant coexistence, watch this lovely short film: 



2 thoughts on “NCF’s Ananda Kumar Wins Whitley Award

  1. Hi, Dr.Kumar

    I’m LIN YI-CHUN (@Jerry), the southeast correspondent of United Daily News Group (Taiwan), now stationed in Bangkok Thailand. On behalf of my company we’d like to request an interview with you in India.

    Firstly, I want to give my congratulation to you for you won the Whitley Award for saving elephants via SMS last month. Wish you and the Nature Conservation Foundation could save more lives both people and elephants in India.
    The United Daily News Group (UDNG) is one of the largest media in Taiwan consisting of newspapers, magazines, online news and TV. My team of 5 will visit India on early July (time subject to change according to availability of interviewees) for coverage of how India copes with and continues to grow amid the ever changing world. The whole project is “Dialogue with India”.

    From my point of view, I’d like also to focus on the sustainable nature conservation side of India and I’m interesting in how and why the India scientist like you and your colleagues involved in wildlife conservation in the region for decades.

    I surfed the NCF website that I knew you were in involving the local communities, government departments, school children, and also the business community in rainforest restoration. And I read “The elephant hills–From conflicts to coexistence in the Anamalai hills” to acknowledge that how you work with local communities to help them to understand and minimize conflicts between people and elephants.

    Hopefully we have your permission to dialogue with you and your team members in India. Please feel free to contact me anytime. Thanks.

    Warm Regards,

    LIN YI-CHUN (@Jerry)
    Southeast Correspondent
    United Daily News Group

Comments are closed.