India home to 60% of Asian elephants, says census report

Elias Hubbard
August 13, 2017

"At this stage, comparisons should not be made between results from the 2017 census and the earlier 2012 census, the reason being that the earlier census results were based on a mixture of direct and indirect count methods as reported by different states", said the ministry. Tamil Nadu saw the biggest dip of 1,254 elephants, followed by Karnataka (439). An error that combined direct and indirect count methods for the state of Kerala showed an inflated figure of 30,000 elephants across the country.

With 60 per cent of the Asian elephant population, India is home to a total of 27,312 free-ranging megaherbivores, an official said here on Saturday on the occasion of the release of a census report to mark the World Elephant Day. "This is a similar method used to get estimates for tiger populations too", he said.

According to experts, there were an estimated 100,000 elephants in India at the beginning of the 20th century.

While addressing the gathering, Vardhan urged people to prepare a strategy for a more even distribution of the elephant population in all the states of the country and emphasized that an attempt must be made to bring an end to the man-animal conflict.

He also called for a broader base movement for conservation of elephants.

The environment minister also released a document outlining "Agreed Points of Action on Trans-Boundary Conservation of Elephants by India and Bangladesh" which highlighted the issues on which two nations have achieved consensus on migration of elephants. Since then, the government has been counting the elephant population every four to five years. An elephant with tail upward is a sign of aggression like if the elephant expands its ear fans. Inspector general of Project Elephant, Rajiv Shrivastava opines that it is due to the fragmented habitat, cutting across railway lines and human settlements dotted in the elephant corridors in the state that pachyderms population has not risen exponentially in the state.

Chief wildlife warden DVS Khati expressed satisfaction over the jumbo numbers in the state while adding that the corridor bottlenecks keep pushing elephants into the human-wildlife conflict situation in some pockets of the state.

At present, there are 29 elephant reserves across India, covering over 65,000 sq.km.

"Elephants should not be confined to only few regions of few states...they must spread..." The World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12 every year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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