Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Elephants in India grew by 2000 in past 15 yrs: Elephant human conflict on rise in Uttarakhand

Written by Anil Singh

Where the human population in the country grew in crores in the past 15 years; the population of elephants in India just grew by 2000. This sufficiently explains the human population pressure on India’s wild Life.

But still, any growth in wild animals in the country of billion plus people is applauding; at least, there is a growth and not a decline.

As per the latest data provided by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Elephant population in India has increased by 2,000 in the past 15 years taking their number to 28,000. In the last elephant census in 2007, there were 27,669 to 27,715 elephants in its various reserves and habitats as against 25,604 in 1993. The census of elephants is undertaken at an interval of five years and the last was done in 2007.

The Ministry, however, said it does not maintain statistics on the death of elephants and their disappearance (This was revealed in a reply to an RTI)

Region-wise breakdown of Tusker count in India:

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra________ 14,005
Northeastern regions_________ 9305-9355
Eastern states, including Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh________2,633
Assam having the highest number________ of 5,281
Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh_________1,726

Money Spent to the conservation of Elephants in India:

The central government has issued about Rs 1,250 crore to 12 states including Rs 220 crore to Karnataka, Rs 170 crore to Tamil Nadu and Rs 140 crore each to Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh under the ''Project Elephant'' for providing better facilities to the animal.

That apart, the State governments are encouraged to identify significant natural habitats of wild elephants in their jurisdictions and notify such areas as elephant reserves. So far, 32 such elephant reserves have been identified in the country.

It’s good news that the population of elephants in India is increasing. But the human population pressure on the tusker population in the country is a real problem. In Uttarakhand, which is home to significant number of elephants and boasts wild life sanctuaries reserved for the animal; human encroachment has increased significantly in the past one decade. Not only human habitations are moving closer towards protected areas; but increasing human settlements are obstructing the traditional elephant corridors (paths elephants commute on for years). That apart, making the task of wild-life personnel uphill, people habitually enter into protected areas for wood and fodder. One thing which needs to be understood in any human-animal conflict is that, most of the times it's the human which encroaches the animal's habitat.

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