Elephant Family x BB ChariTEA
I am really excited to be working on some fantastic projects with Elephant Family and hope to share more with you over the coming months. In the meantime I have personally nominated them to be our ChariTEA of the quarter, so we can start helping fund some of their fantastic projects as well as using our BB network to spread the word about this fantastic cause.
You can learn loads about Elephant Family on their website but in my own words, this is why we are very proud to have Elephant Family as our ChariTEA this quarter…
Love & Tea,
ChariTEA Half Marathon
In aid of The Elephant Family, Cheif Teabird, Krisi and London Borough Manager, Emma are running a half marathon! They have both run in the past, but they only have 5 weeks to prepare!
Krisi and Emma will be raising money for them, so if you would like to support them and The Elephant Family, you can find the link here.
Set up by Mark Shand, after an incredible journey hundreds of miles across India with Tara, the Asian elephant (if you haven’t already, read his journal ‘Travels on my Elephant’), Elephant Family is a charity working passionately to protect Asian elephants and their habitat. Their main work focuses on raising awareness of the Asian elephants plight as well as working tirelessly to educate & support peaceful cohabitation with their human neighbours, they fund vital research and undertake conservation projects in areas where the Asian elephant now resides, to make sure they have safe habitat to live, feed & breed.
The Asian Elephant
Although they make it very clear that they love all elephants (and wildlife), Elephant Family are committed to the Asian elephant specifically - and when you hear more about their plight we totally understood why.
Asian elephants used to roam in their millions all the way from Syria to China but over the last century, with the rapid exploitation of human population (and subsequent destruction of their natural habitat) these numbers have dwindled to less than 30,000. Their natural habitat has been reduced to just 3.5% of their former range & they are confined in small pockets of jungle, mostly in India. In comparison their African cousins’, although still dangerously endangered, population is half million.
The main challenge facing the Asian elephant is the loss of their habitat which means that not only are they finding themselves without the resources they need to feed, live & breed but they are increasingly becoming more and more in competition with their human neighbours. This is causing a naturally peaceful species to become stressed, defensive & aggressive, causing villages & farmers at best a nuisance, at worst a danger.
Why BB love Elephant Family
One of the things that caught my attention when learning more about Elephant Family is their project work in Assam - a region that we get lots of our black teas from! After chatting to the team we learnt that many of the tea gardens in Assam are frequented by Asian elephants, looking for a safe haven to breed. This was causing increasing friction with the plantations as they struggled to deal with this large pest in their fields. It also became very clear that tea estates actually have some pretty fundamental hazards to elephants.
Their work in Assam / with the tea gardens aims to certify the estates as ‘Elephant Friendly’ by undertaking the following three main areas:
Education of the teams that own/run/work in the plantations to ensure that they understand the plight of the Asian elephant as well as what they can do to ensure they can peacefully coexist whilst also remaining safe in their daily work. They also work on education around what pesticides they can use / how to make sure it stays out of the water that the elephants drink.
The irrigation ditches around many tea estates are too narrow and steep for a baby elephant to be able to climb so this hazzard was seeing a 200 pound animal stuck with no way of rescue. By working with the estate owners to make these ditches elephant friendly we can ensure the elephants can peacefully come and go with their babies.
Perhaps the most impactful project Elephant Family are working on is the establishment of Elephant Corridors that connect vital pockets of forest so the elephants can safely travel to find new food & to breed. This has meant safely relocating some human villages to allow the elephants their habitat back. As elephants are the largest species in the forest, by looking out for them you also provide a lifeline to other endangered species like orangutans & tigers who also share their habitat and make use of the corridors.