First Large Grower is Awarded Elephant Friendly™ Certification

In 2018, Nuxalbari Tea Estate in Darjeeling District of the State of West Bengal, India became the first tea plantation to be awarded Certified Elephant Friendly™ status under our new Large Grower Certification Program.  With 1200 acres near the border of Nepal, Nuxalbari Tea Estate serves as a model site for Best Practices for Tea Production for Elephant Conservation and Human-elephant Conflict Reduction.  Nuxalbari Estate owner Sonia Jabbar is a fifth generation tea planter, and has been working for the past 7 years to ensure that she not only carries on the family tradition of a deep love for the land and growing quality tea, but that stewardship of the environment will go hand-in-hand with farming the land.  Sonia stands alone in India as a woman who owns and directly manages her own large tea estate, and as a single mother who is challenged to make the estate and on-site tea factory both economically viable, but also responsive the need to apply sustainable practices such as converting the estate to organic production to improving energy efficiency in the factory.  Like the matriarch of an elephant herd, Sonia determines the path forward for her team, and against all odds is finding that others not only support her in her mission, but want to follow her example.  Sonia’s deep love of elephants has led her to not only want to manage the tea property as a place elephants are welcome as they move between the dwindling forests of the region, but she has expanded her reach to include a habitat reforestation project on site, a youth nature club, a team to ensure that elephants can move through the farm free of harassment, and even an outreach to local farmers to promote coexistence and secure a brighter future for the endangered Asian elephant.

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