It turns out that the interaction of tea and animals is not limited to insect pest damage, in which tea suffers, and scientific researches, in which animals suffer. The interests of tea farmers often intersect with the interests of fairly large animals — and, most often, this intersection turns out to be sad for one of the parties.
The use of pesticides on tea plantations in Uganda is a cause of congenital pathologies in young chimpanzees and baboons.
In Bangladesh, Hindu migrants working on tea plantations actively use pangolins for food. Local Muslims do not eat them, but Hindus do not have any restrictions on the meat of these placental mammals — and the population of these pleasant animals in the tea areas of the country is shrinking.
In India, everything is vice versa. Between January 2009 and March 2016, in northern West Bengal, 171 leopard attacks on humans were recorded. Most of the attacks occurred from January to May and on tea plantations. Fortunately, none of the attacks were fatal, but it is probably because of leopards that Indian tea plantation workers are moving to Bangladesh and “take it out” on pangolins there.
But it is elephants, apparently, who suffer the most from the tea plantations. Well, or maybe they’re simply the cutest. Anyway, the University of Montana has launched an elephant-friendly tea certification program. If a tea plantation is surrounded by narrow and deep irrigation trenches, which can become deadly traps for baby elephants, then there is no chance for a Montana elephant certificate for such a plantation. But if, on the contrary, you have irrigation trenches wide and shallow, your electric wires do not pose a threat to elephants and in general elephants feel at home at your plantation, then your certificate of Elephant Friendly Certified Tea can be said to be already in the bag. Naturally, a part of the proceeds from the sale of elephant-friendly tea go back to support elephants conservation in the communities where the tea is grown The first certificate of Elephant-Friendly Tea was received by a farmer from Assam, where the relationship of elephants with tea plantations has a long and rich history.