How do you start your day? If you are like most people, you probably start with a cup of coffee. Did you know that the coffee you drink can affect the lives of elephants? If you are looking for one way, you can save the elephants, start with your choice of coffee.
Over the years, coffee plantations have taken away habitats from Asian elephants. This has led elephants to have conflicts with humans. Take a look at how to save elephants by switching your cup of joe.
The coffee industry in India
India is the sixth-largest coffee producer in the world. It is behind the world's largest coffee producers, such as Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia and Ethiopia. In 2014 - 2015, India produced over 5.5 million bags of coffee, and out of that amount, 70 percent was exported.
The type of coffee that India typically produces is Arabica and Robusta coffee. To produce the coffee beans, farmers are using the land in the Western Ghats. The coffee plants are grown under tree canopies from both native and nonnative tree species.
Asian elephants and human conflicts
The Western Ghats is one of the most significant hotspots for biodiversity. This land contains untouched mountains and forests where animals roam free. It is also home to wildlife sanctuaries and National parks. These wildlife sanctuaries are helping endangered and vulnerable species like tigers, elephants and sambar deers.
Although this land is key to promoting biodiversity, it is also being cut down. Over the years, 1.16 percent of the Western Ghats forests are being cut down. It suffers from deforestation because of timber logging and poaching for ivory. This becomes a problem for the Asian elephants that use the forest as home.
As the elephants' homes are diminishing, they are starting to take refuge in the shady coffee plantations. This can cause problems for both farmers and elephants. Elephants can destroy their crops and put at risk the life of the coffee workers.
Sometimes the coffee workers use gunshots and fireworks to scare the elephants away, but this can result in frightening them. It can lead to the coffee workers losing their lives. On the other hand, elephants also run the risk of losing their lives by being killed or getting put into captivity.
How to save elephants
Asian elephants are currently classified as endangered species. This means that they are at high risk of becoming extinct. Protecting them is critical to promote biodiversity in Asia's ecosystems. To protect Asian elephants, there needs to be a stop to deforestation, poaching and switching to elephant-friendly coffee.
How to save elephants from losing homes and poaching starts by signing petitions. Stopping deforestation will prevent elephants from losing their home. Banning poaching and the sale of ivory can protect elephant populations from diminishing. When shopping for coffee, make sure to buy products that are certified Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and are fair trade.
At For Elephants, we are helping to research the best conservation practices for both elephants in the wild and zoos. Help your research by making a donation or shopping our apparel.