Elephant Census

The Elephant census techniques fall into two classes:
1. Direct counts:
  • In this the elephants are counted.
  • It can either be carried out from the air or from the ground.
  • In this the whole of the designated area is searched, and it is assumed that all elephants are located and counted accurately.
2. Indirect counts:
  • In this the signs of elephants (dung-piles, tracks, feeding signs) are counted.
  • It is generally used where it is impossible to count elephants directly, as in the extensive forests.
  • The signs of elephants such as dung piles are used to provide an estimate of elephant numbers.
Matching the two:
  • In the just released India synchronised Elephant census, only direct count method has been used.
  • The estimates from direct count will be confirmed by using indirect dung-count method in next three months.
Previous census:
  • The previous Elephant population census was done in 2012.
  • The number of Elephants in latest census are lower than from the last census estimate of 2012 (between 29,391 and 30,711).
  • But according to the experts, parallels cannot be drawn between the two census because in the 2012 census:
    • Different States used different methodologies to count the Elephants.
    • The counting the Elephants was not synchronised across the country which could have led to the errors and duplication thus overestimating the numbers.


Man-animal conflict:

  • Due to the habitat fragmentation, elephants are moving out to agricultural landscapes leading to an increase in man-elephant conflict.
  • Conflict leads to both crop damage and loss of lives.
Asian Nature Conservation Foundation:
  • It was established in 1997 as a charitable trust.
  • It has its headquarters at the Innovation Centre office of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
  • It is a small group of conservation scientists, planners, information managers and administrators working together to support the conservation of biological diversity in India.
  • It is actively involved in the conservation of the Asian Elephant, considered to be a keystone species in the biologically rich forests of South and Southeast Asia.
Project Elephant:
  • It was launched in 1992 by the Government of India,
  • It was to provide financial and technical support of wildlife management efforts by states for their free ranging populations of wild Asian Elephants.
  • It aims to ensure long-term survival of viable conservation reliant populations of elephants in their natural habitats by protecting the elephants, their habitats and migration corridors.
Section : Environment & Ecology