New Report Reveals 150 Elephant Corridors in India
A recent report from the Union Environment Ministry unveils the existence of at least 150 elephant corridors in India, with West Bengal topping the list with 26 such passages.
This is a significant increase from the 88 corridors identified in the 2010 Elephant Task Force report.
- Intensification and Status of Elephant Corridors: The report notes an intensification of elephant use in 59 corridors, stability in 29, and a decrease in 29 others.
- Conservation Importance: The report emphasizes the significance of safeguarding elephant corridors to prevent demographic isolation and maintain genetic diversity, reducing the risk of extinction for elephant populations.
- India's Elephant Population: As of the last estimate in 2017, India is home to approximately 30,000 elephants, constituting 60 percent of the global elephant population.
- Regional Distribution of Corridors: Among the four elephant-bearing regions in India, the east-central region boasts the highest number of corridors at 52, followed by the northeast region with 48 and the southern region with 32.
- The northern region has the fewest corridors, numbering 18.
- Corridor Locations and Trans-National Corridors: Out of the 150 corridors, 126 are within individual state boundaries, while 19 span two states.
- Additionally, six trans-national corridors exist between India and Nepal, mainly in Uttar Pradesh.
Conservation Efforts by Government to Protect Elephants
Project Elephant (1992 - Present)
- Launched in 1992, it's a dedicated, ongoing initiative to conserve India's elephant population.
- Key objectives include protecting elephants, preserving their migration routes, and safeguarding their natural habitats.
Global Tribute on World Elephant Day
- World Elephant Day, observed annually on August 12, highlights the global significance of these majestic animals.
- Raises awareness about their crucial role in the ecosystem.
Creation of Elephant Corridors
- Government-established elephant corridors ensure safe movement for elephants.
- These designated patches of land provide access to food and water within forests, reducing human-elephant conflicts.
- Utilizes LiDAR technology for precise corridor planning.
Financial Support and Crop Insurance
- States and Union Territories receive financial aid through the 'Project Elephant' Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
- Crop insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana covers farmers whose crops are damaged by wildlife, including elephants.
Capacity Building and Training
- Ongoing efforts to enhance the capacity and training of forest personnel.
- Focus on effective elephant population management and conflict mitigation.
National Heritage Animal Designation
- Elephant designated as the National Heritage Animal in India.
- Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) receives the highest protection under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972).
Ban on Ivory Trade and Protection Measures
- Strict prohibition of elephant ivory trade in India.
- All ivory markets and carvings closed since 1990.
- Robust protection contributes to a stable Asian elephant population in the country.
DNA Profiling and Collaboration
- Conduct DNA profiling of captive elephants.
- Mobile application for data capture, reliable marking and tracing.
Government Policies and Legal Framework for Elephant Protection
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
- Elephants listed in Schedule 1, receiving the highest level of protection.
- Ownership of an elephant requires permission from the local Chief Wildlife Warden.
CITES Ratification (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
- Ratified in 1976, placing the Asiatic elephant in Appendix 1.
- Prohibits international trade in species threatened with extinction.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
- Formulated Animal Welfare Board.
- Utilized for the care of captive elephants.
Gajah Task Force, 2010
- Reviewed existing elephant protection measures.
- Recommended various conservation strategies.
- Identified 26 wildlife corridors for immediate enhancement.
Gaj Yatra and Gaj Mahotsav
- Initiated in 2017 and 2018 by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and Wildlife Trust of India.
- Interactive events promoting elephant awareness.
- Focus on securing wildlife corridors as highlighted in the "Rights of Passage" report.
HEC Mitigation (Human-Elephant Conflict)
- Launch of the Surakshya portal in 2020.
- Facilitates real-time monitoring of human-elephant conflicts to aid policymakers.
Gaj Gaurav Award, 2022
- Recognizes grassroots efforts in elephant conservation.
- Encourages and incentivizes elephant care initiatives.