Every third cup of Indian coffee comes from Kodagu. The district in Karnataka also reported the highest number of human deaths resulting from conflict between humans and elephants in the state in the last two years.
The two facts are related.
Since the mid-1990s, a coffee boom has resulted in more land in Kodagu being brought under coffee plantations. The forests that serve as the natural habitat for elephants have shrunk. Bamboo, the primary dietary source for elephants, has also seen a decline, with regeneration proving difficult because of changes in rainfall and temperature aiding the spread of an invasive grass.
As a result, a large number of elephants have moved into coffee plantations, where they have come into sharp conflict with humans. There is no easy solution in sight, Ishan Kukreti found while travelling through Kodagu in April. Read his report here.
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