Using Elephants as Bulldozers to Preserve Wildlife Sanctuaries

On Monday, Indian police and forestry officials began carrying out a series of forced evictions of illegally built houses inside the 30-square-mile Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary in northeastern India, a protected habitat for wild elephants. Hundreds of structures were demolished by a few construction vehicles and about a dozen elephants, which were able to navigate some of the steeper and narrower trails. The people being evicted protested, some hurling rocks, but in the end, several hundred families were driven out. Increased encroachment on elephant habitat has been driving growing numbers of human-elephant encounters, which often end badly for the wild animals. Indian authorities have used elephants for demolition duties several times in recent years, including in 2016, when they removed 300 encroaching houses from the Kaziranga National Park rhino sanctuary.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Xie Mingfei / VCG / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Apple Crisp, Squirrel Tea, Floating Pumpkin

    A crab migration on Christmas Island, dengue-fever outbreaks in Pakistan, a castle in eastern France, migrants crossing the English Channel, and much more

  • Carlos Osorio / Reuters

    A Visit to Churchill, Manitoba, During Polar-Bear Season

    Carlos Osorio, a photographer with Reuters, has spent the past week in Churchill, Manitoba, taking photos of polar bears, the town, and the frigid landscape.

  • Emilio Morenatti / AP

    Buried in Volcanic Ash, Scenes from the Canary Islands

    Millions of cubic meters of fallen ash now blanket much of the landscape near the eruption.

  • Christopher Furlong / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Pelican Bench, Truffle Hunter, Supply Chain

    A snowstorm in Moscow, a vintage-car race in England, flooding in British Columbia, smoggy skies in India, big-wave surfing in Portugal, and much more