Elephant Census

Elephant census:
  • It is the first ever synchronised elephant census carried out in the country’s eastern region.
  • With the count of 1,976 elephants in this census, it has been seen that the jumbo population has gone up marginally by 22 elephants from 2015.
Methods used to Count:
  • Direct method like direct sighting was used.
  • Indirect methods like estimation of elephant through dung decay rate.
Status of Elephant in India:
  • The Indian elephant (Asiatic elephant or Elephas Maximus) occurs in the central and southern Western Ghats, North-east India, eastern India and northern India and in some parts of southern peninsular India.
  • It is included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 .
  • It is included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).
Major threats to Elephants:
  • Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat
  • Illegal killing for ivory
  • Train accidents
  • Electrocution
  • Human-Elephant conflict: Odisha has recorded one of the worst man-elephant conflicts in the country. Since 2013-14, 311 elephants have been killed with annual average elephant deaths estimated at over 70. During the same period, 275 humans lost their lives in elephant depredation.
Steps taken by Government of India to protect Elephants:
1. Project Elephant:
  • It was launched by government of India in 1992 with the following objectives:
    • To protect elephants, their habitat and corridors.
    • Welfare of domesticated elephants.
    • To address man-elephant conflict issue.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change also provides the financial and technical support to major elephant range states in the country.
2. Elephant Reserves:
  • Singhbhum Elephant reserve in  Jharkhand was the first reserve to be notified in the country in 2001.
  • Since then, 32 Elephant Reserves have been notified, with highest number of such reserves in Kerala.
3. Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE):
  • The overall goal of MIKE is to provide information needed for elephant range States to make appropriate management and enforcement decisions.
  • Its aim is to measure levels and trends in the illegal hunting of elephants.