When was ANCF founded?

ANCF was founded in November 1997 as a public charitable trust by Prof. Raman Sukumar. Prof Sukumar started his work on elephants in 1979. In the early 90s, he brought together a team of elephant researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and undertook  a range of  research projects on the species. It was in 1997 that the need for an independent non-profit organization was felt to take the work forward and expand it.  Many of the earlier team members became staff members of ANCF when it was established in 1997.


What is the specific work you do and what are the projects you are currently engaged in?

ANCF’s mission is the conservation of biodiversity in India. For achieving this goal we are involved with research, field based surveys, education and training and study of conservation policies. The core focus of ANCF’s programme is the  research and conservation of the Asian Elephant. We study elephant populations in the wild, their distribution in various regions of India, the status of their habitats, their conflicts with humankind, the critical corridors within their fragmented habitats that need to be conserved.  We also conduct status surveys and evaluations of captive elephants .


How are you funded?

Our projects are funded by grants and consultancy fees. Funding comes from the  Government of India and State Governments, bilateral and multi lateral aid agencies and international conservation groups. We also receive donations from individuals from India and overseas who support our work.


How you work with other organizations to accomplish your goals?

Conservation can only be achieved through the actions of a coalition of partners who bring different expertise and capacities to bear on a project. ANCF partners with government agencies, sister conservation groups, research and educational institutions, local communities and individual experts wherever needed, to take the work forward. We do not shy away from seeking help from other institutions in order to achieve goals that aim for the welfare wildlife and humankind.


Can you suggest ways students can help your projects? Are there any actions that we as a school can take to help your organization?

ANCF believes that students form an important constituency for conservation. The first goal of students should be to educate themselves thoroughly in the challenges and opportunities that face conservation. This comes both from in class acquisition of conservation knowledge on the one hand and participation in the work of  school based nature clubs and guided visits to sanctuaries and national parks, on the other. Students could highlight the plight of the Asian Elephant in India through various public forums and communication channels. Students and schools could put pressure on governments and other private organizations to work more strongly to conserve and protect the Asian Elephant. Students could volunteer with programmes of the Forest Department for planned projects like the conduct of a wildlife census. All these actions by student communities will support the work of the ANCF. Our organization is an information bank on conservation issues and will support schools and students who require science based knowledge on such issues.


Did you help elephants or their habitat during the tsunami?

The elephants did not need our help during the tsunami. They could sense the impending danger much before the tsunami hit the shores of elephant range states such as India, and moved to safer places. Most of the Asian Elephant’s habitat was safe from the tsunami.


How can technology make a difference to the future of the Asian elephants?

Technology is playing a growing role in the programmes to conserve elephants in the wild. For over a decade ANCF has been actively using radio/satellite telemetry technology to study Asian Elephants in northern West Bengal. A total of 13 elephants have been collared so far. These collared elephants provide us information that helps to  map their distribution, understand their movement patterns and develop ‘elephant corridors’.  ANCF has worked on the development of an early warning system using satellite collars to track the movement pattern of notorious (elephant) crop-raiders. The communication system is expected to  alert both the forest department and villagers to take preventive measures. The satellite data received on a daily basis is mapped and the movement pattern sent to the forest officials for action. This will to some extent help mitigate the problem of human elephant conflict in some regions.


How can you solve elephant-human conflict?

Elephant-human conflict till date has not been solved, but only mitigated in some places. If we can protect the elephant’s habitat from further degradation, both humans and elephants can co-exist harmoniously within the set boundaries for both. We need to find alternatives for people struggling with marginal cultivation near forest boundaries. They can be encouraged to cultivate crops that are not a food source for elephants. The elephant's habitat encompasses large landscapes that are directly under the control of local and State governments. Governments have to take steps to conserve large forest areas in order to ensure the survival of viable populations of the Asian Elephant.