• Team MMB

Game Changer Series: Tenzing Bodosa

It is true that poaching is one of the biggest source of danger to world's elephants; especially those who in developing countries; but there is another unlikely source i.e. tea. No, not from drinking tea but from accidents in tea gardens. Deep draiange, pesticides, heavy chemical infused fertilisers, and electric fences have for long now thratened Asia's elephants residing in the mighty Assam valley!

Elephants do not eat tea leaves, they often pass through the fields, since it is their natural home! But during their long migrations, human-elephant encounters become common - a situation that often turns hostile and as far back as 75 years since, the Asain elephant population has seen a 50% decline (some 64 of them dying as a result of this conflict last year alone.)

But it is here that we have someone thinking of alternatives to co-existence: Tea farmer Tenzing Bodosa who has helped to create a symbiotic human-elephant relationship in his 3 hectare elephant friendly tea garden (and it is ceritified)! The gardenor as he calls it, his own forest is sage and foregoes ditches, fences and even uses organisc fertiilisers. The workers on Bodosa’s farm let passing elephants roam in peace, reducing the elephant-related injuries and deaths that can occur when humans attempt to chase the animals away. Bodosa’s farm also does not use chemical pesticides or fertilisers that can be poisonous to elephants and the vegetation they eat.

The most unusual part of Bodosa’s farm, though, is its buffer zone, where the tea fields end and the jungle begins. While most local growers cut down the plants elephants eat that grow around their farms, Bodosa adds to the vegetation, planting bamboo, star fruit and other plants elephants love. Bodosa’s innovation has not gone unnoticed – he has trained about 30,000 farmers on his tea-farming practices.

His garden has been certified by the Wildlife Friendly Network Enterprise as the world’s only elephant-friendly tea farm.

Now, every year, hundreds of tourists from all over the world visit Bodosa nd his organic tea garden and of course to meet the farm's big eared visitors. This is part of ManuheManuhorbabe's 'Game Changer' weekly series. We hope to see submissions from our readers, or inspirational stories that you hae come across. To keep up with this, and more follow @ManuheManuhorbabe1 on Twitter and on Faebook.

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