Meet the farmers who make it all possible!
Tenzing Bodosa of Assam, India
Tenzing’s tea farms are havens of biodiversity, including endangered Asian elephants moving back and forth with the seasons across the international border between India and the Kingdom of Bhutan. Elephants use the tea gardens as corridors between the forested Bhutan hills, patches of native forests and grasslands on the India side, and water sources. With no fencing or drainage ditches to block their movement, the elephants can move freely, even in large herds. No man-made chemicals are used on the land, and the water and vegetation pose no health risks to elephants. Even the tea farm workers are encouraged to allow elephants to move through the plantation undisturbed, which helps reduce human-elephant conflicts.
Sonia Jabbar of North Bengal, India
Sonia Jabbar, owner of Nuxalbari Tea Estate of North Bengal, India, is the owner and manager of the first large tea estate to be awarded Elephant Friendly™ certification since the program’s inception. Sonia is a fifth generation tea planter. She stands alone in India as a woman owner and direct manager of a tea estate. Her efforts to provide elephants of the Darjeeling District with safe passage on their journey between fragments of remaining forests near the Nepal border of India are noteworthy. She also has established an outreach program for youth through the Hathi Sathi program, which focuses on elephant conservation and nature appreciation. In addition, Sonia is leading a reforestation effort to provide improved habitat for elephants with a goal of 100 acres of restored jungle for elephants to stop and rest and forage along their age-old corridor of movement that cuts through the middle of her plantation. Sonia welcomes visitors to her farm for tea tasting and the enjoyment of the natural world. The view of Himalayan peaks from her farm is breathtaking!