Project Elephant is a wildlife conservation movement initiated in India to protect the endangered Indian elephant. The project was initiated in 1992 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Government of India to provide financial and technical support to the states for wildlife management of free-ranging elephant populations. The project aims to ensure the long-term survival and viability of elephant populations in their natural habitats by protecting the animals, their habitats and migration corridors. The project also facilitates research of ecology and management of elephants, creating awareness of conservation among local people, and providing veterinary care for captive elephants.

Project Elephant
Logo of Project Elephant
Elephant conservation overview
Parent departmentMinistry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India

History and objectives edit

Project Elephant was initiated in 1992 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Government of India. The project was initiated to protect the Indian elephant and its habitats and to establish dedicated elephant reserves for sustaining elephant populations.[1] The project was established to provide financial and technical support to the states with free ranging elephant population for the protection of the animals, their habitats and migration corridors. It was also intended to address human-animal conflict and promote welfare of captive elephants.[2] The project has been implemented in 22 States and union territories of India. The project also undertakes activities aimed at constructing infrastructure and other facilities for conservation like veterinary care, field force training, necessary capture and translocation of wild elephants. With regards to captive elephants, the project aims to ensure the well being of such elephants including providing veterinary care, training of mahouts and supervisory staff.[1]

Pictured are elephant herds from Jim Corbett National Park in India

Another important aim of the scheme is to prevent poaching of wild elephants. Project Elephant has been formally implementing MIKE (Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants) programme of CITES since January 2004. It facilitates taking suitable measures like deployment of patrolling squads, intelligence gathering, maintaining data on illegal hunting and to determine factors responsible for poaching and to take appropriate measures to mitigate the same.[1] Project Elephant also facilitates various research activities through the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) such as developing crop varieties not favored by elephants, developing elephant-proof storage bins for food grains and developing elephant repellents in order to reduce human-animal conflicts.[3] It has also engaged in research regarding disease-management in captive elephants and efficacy of immuno-contraceptives on domesticated elephants with Assam Agricultural University, monitoring and tracking of elephants with Wildlife Institute of India.[3] Project Elephant also promotes eco-tourism for generating extra revenue for the welfare of captive breeding programmes for elephants, organizes courses for veterinarians and mahouts dealing with domesticated elephants and in promoting awareness on elephant conservation across communities.[3]

Elephant population edit

The first exclusive exercise for enumeration of wild elephants in the elephant reserves was conducted in 2005. This exercise also sought to experiment with two sampling methods, viz. Block sampling and Line transect-Dung Count. As of the last elephant count in 2017, the population of wild elephants in the country has increased to 29,964 as compared to 27,669-27,719 in 2007.[1] As of 2017, the estimated wild population in India account for nearly three-fourths of the extant population.[4]

There are about 138 identified elephant corridors in India with the majority of the elephant population in India is restricted to four general areas.[5][6]

Elephant corridors in India
Region Areas Corridors Area (km2) Elephant population (2017) Percentage of elephant population
North-East From the eastern border of Nepal in northern West Bengal through western Assam along the Himalaya foothills as far as the Mishmi Hills, extending into eastern Arunachal Pradesh, the plains of upper Assam, and the foothills of Nagaland, to the Garo Hills of Meghalaya through the Khasi Hills, to parts of the lower Brahmaputra plains and Karbi Plateau; isolated herds occur in Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, and in the Barak Valley districts of Assam 58 41,000 10,139 33.8%
East In Odisha, Jharkhand, and in the southern part of West Bengal, with some animals wandering into Chhattisgarh 54 23,500 3,128 10.4%
North At the foot of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, ranging from Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary to the Yamuna River 8 5,500 2,085 7.0%
South Eight populations are fragmented from each other in northern Karnataka, in the crestline of Karnataka–Western Ghats, in BhadraMalnad, in BrahmagiriNilgirisEastern Ghats, in NilamburSilent ValleyCoimbatore, in AnamalaiParambikulam, in PeriyarSrivilliputhur, and one in Agasthyamalai 46 40,000 14,612 48.8%

Elephant reserves edit

As of 2023, 33 Elephant Reserves (ERs) extending nearly 80,778 square kilometres (31,189 sq mi) across 14 states have been formally notified.[7][8][9]

Elephant reserves in India (2023)
S.No. Reserve Name Range Estd. State Total area (km²) Population
1 Mayurjharna East-Central 2002 West Bengal 414 96
2 Singhbhum East-Central 2001 Jharkhand 13,440 371
3 Mayurbhanj East-Central 2001 Orissa 3,214 465
4 Mahanadi East-Central 2002 Orissa 1,038 464
5 Sambalpur East-Central 2002 Orissa 427 284
6 Badalkhol-Tamorpingla East-Central 2011 Chhattisgarh 1,143 NA
7 Lemru East-Central 2022 Chhattisgarh 1,995 NA
8 Kameng Kameng-Sonitpur 2002 Arunachal Pradesh 1,892 NA
9 Sonitpur Kameng-Sonitpur 2003 Assam 1,420 612
10 Dihing-Patkai Eastern-South Bank 2003 Assam 937 295
11 South Arunachal Eastern-South Bank 2008 Arunachal Pradesh 1,957 129
12 Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong-Intanki 2003 Assam 3,270 1,940
13 Dhansiri-Lungding Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong-Intanki 2003 Assam 2,740 275
14 Intanki Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong-Intanki 2005 Nagaland 202 30
15 Singphan Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong-Intanki 2018 Nagaland 24 NA
16 Chirang-Ripu North Bengal-Greater Manas 2003 Assam 2,600 658
17 Eastern Dooars North Bengal-Greater Manas 2002 West Bengal 978 300-350
18 Garo Hills Meghalaya 2001 Meghalaya 3,500 1,047
19 Mysore Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2002 Karnataka 8,056 4,452
20 Dandeli Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2015 Karnataka 2,321 NA
21 Wayanad Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2002 Kerala 1,200 636
22 Nilgiri Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2003 Tamil Nadu 4,663 2,862
23 Rayala Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2003 Andhra Pradesh 766 12
24 Nilambur Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2002 Kerala 1,419 281
25 Coimbatore Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats 2003 Tamil Nadu 566 329
26 Anamalai Anamalai-Nelliampathy-High Range 2003 Tamil Nadu 1,457 179
27 Anamudi Anamalai-Nelliampathy-High Range 2002 Kerala 3,728 1,726
28 Agasthyamalai Periyar-Agasthyamalai 2022 Tamil Nadu 1,198 NA
29 Periyar Periyar-Agasthyamalai 2002 Kerala 3,742 1,100
30 Srivilliputtur Periyar-Agasthyamalai 2003 Tamil Nadu 1,249 638
31 Shivalik North-Western 2003 Uttarakhand 5,405 1,510
32 Uttar Pradesh North-Western 2009 Uttar Pradesh 744 NA
33 Terai North-Western 2022 Uttar Pradesh 3,072 NA
Total 80,778 20,391

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d "Project Elephant". Government of India. Retrieved 1 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Elephant Reserves". ENVIS, Government of India. Retrieved 1 April 2024.
  3. ^ a b c Achievements of Project Elephant (Report). Zoos' Print, volume 20. September 2005. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  4. ^ "India has 27,312 elephants, census shows". The Hindu. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  5. ^ Sukumar, R. (1993). The Asian Elephant: Ecology and Management. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-43758-5.
  6. ^ "Elephant Corridors of India" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 October 2018.
  7. ^ "33 Elephant Reserves established in 14 major elephant States" (Press release). Government of India. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  8. ^ Elephant Reserves in India, an atlas (PDF) (Report). Government of India. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  9. ^ Elephant Task Force report (PDF) (Report). Government of India. Retrieved 1 December 2023.