11% fall in elephant population in five years, says government report

The state had conducted its elephant estimation in 2015 registering 1797 elephants in 2015, so there has been a marginal increase in the strength of pachyderm in the state.

“Our goal is to completely eliminate the menace of man-animal conflict, in which around 400 people and 100 elephant die every year”, Harsh Vardhan said here on the occasion of the release of the latest census report to mark the World Elephant Day. The population of Asian elephant was estimated at around 30000 in 2012 and at 27,670 in 2007 census.

Techniques like direct count, indirect count, waterhole methods and elephant distribution mapping were used for the estimation. Following Karnataka closely is Assam at 5,719, Kerala 3,054, Tamil Nadu 2,761, Odisha 1,976, Uttarakhand 1,839 and Arunachal Pradesh with 1,614 wild elephants, among others.

“At this stage, comparisons should not be made between results from the 2017 census and the earlier 2012 census, the reason being that the earlier census results were based on a mixture of direct and indirect counting methods, as reported by different states”, the census report pointed out.

He also called for a broader base movement for conservation of elephants.

The environment minister also released a document-“Agreed points of action on trans-boundary conservation of elephants by India and Bangladesh”-which highlighted the issues on which the two nations have achieved consensus”.

“We have a good number of elephants and we must not be obsessed with population”. An elephant with tail upward is a sign of aggression like if the elephant expands its ear fans.

India started Project Elephant in 1992 to protect the Asian elephant, its habitat and corridors and address the man-elephant conflict. The Wildlife Trust of India, which will coordinate the yatra, has mapped a total of 101 elephant corridors.

“Quality of data collected during the elephant census will be high”.

There are 29 elephant reserves in India spread over 65,000 sq km. But loss and degradation of wildlife habitats, including the elephant corridors, are increasing the human-elephant conflict.

The birthday celebration is part of World Elephant Day observed across the world on August 12 to raise awareness about the challenges facing Asian and African elephants. And for the year 2016-17, the government enhanced the rate of compensation amount to be paid for damages caused to properties and human death by wildlife, particularly elephants.

“A sum of ‘4.27 crore was spent for 2,921 beneficiaries a year ago and elephants account for the maximum human- animal conflicts in the state”.