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SMS alerts cut deaths caused by elephants in rural India

General November 18, 2014

A tea estate worker receives an SMS alert on an estate in a remote location in Valparai, in southern India's Tamil Nadu state, on September 17, 2014Geetha Thomas owes her life to a text message. The 38-year-old tea plantation worker was able to scramble onto the roof of her home in southern India as a herd of elephants rampaged through her village thanks to an alert on her mobile phone. The warning was part of an initiative by the environmental group Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) aimed at reducing the number of deaths caused by elephants in the area by alerting communities to the animals' presence. Dozens of people have been killed by elephants in Valparai, a tea-growing area surrounded by forest in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where around 70,000 people live mostly as workers on tea estates.


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