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12 August: World Elephant Day

World Elephant Day is observed every year on August 12, aims to spread awareness on the risk of extinction faced by these much-loved wild animals.

  • There are three species of elephants — African Forest, African Savanna (bush), and Asian. The animals can be differentiated by their ears and trunks. African elephants are larger.
  • India houses about 60% of all Asian elephants.
  • The Indian elephant 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 and in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).
  • It occurs in 16 of the 28 states in the country and is showing an increasing trend across its distributional range.
  • Recently Agasthiyamalai was declared 31st Elephant Reserve in the country after Singphan ER in Nagaland was notified in 2018. It is also the 5th Elephant Reserve of Kerala.
  • Project Elephant was launched by the Govt. of India to ensure the protection of the pachyderms and their environment.
  • According to the latest elephant census conducted in 2017, the population of elephants in India has reached up to about 27,312.
  • According to the 2017 census, Karnataka had the highest number of elephants (6,049), followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (3,054).