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DNA Profiling of Elephants

Context:

Announcing the 30-year celebration of ‘Project Elephant’ recently officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said that the DNA profiling of 270 of the 2,675 captive elephants in the country has been completed.

Relevance:

GS II- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About DNA Profiling of Elephants
  2. What is Project Elephant?
  3. Asian Elephants
  4. African Elephants
  5. Threats
  6. Human-Elephant Conflicts

About DNA Profiling of Elephants:

  • The DNA profiling was started in August 2022 for Gaj Soochna Mobile Application for forest officials.
  • DNA profiling is the process where a specific DNA pattern, called a profile, is obtained from a sample of bodily tissue.

What is Project Elephant?

  • Project Elephant is a Central Government sponsored scheme launched in February 1992.
  • Through the Project Elephant scheme, the government helps in the protection and management of elephants to the states having wild elephants in a free-ranging population.
  • It ensures the protection of elephant corridors and elephant habitat for the survival of the elephant population in the wild.
  • This elephant conservation strategy is mainly implemented in 16 of 28 states or union territories in the country which includes Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
  • The union government provides technical and financial help to these states to carry out and achieve the goals of project elephant. Not just that, assistance for the purpose of the census, training of field officials is also provided to ensure the mitigation and prevention of man-elephant conflict.

Asian Elephants:

  • The Asian elephant is divided into three subspecies: Indian, Sumatran, and Sri Lankan.
  • The Indian subspecies has the largest territory and is home to the majority of the continent’s remaining elephants.
  • The eldest and largest female elephant in the herd is in charge (known as the matriarch). The matriarch’s daughters and their children make up this herd.
  • Elephants have the longest known gestation period of any mammal, extending up to 680 days (22 months).
Protection Status:
  • IUCN Red List: Endangered.
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.
  • CITES: Appendix I

African Elephants:

The Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant are two subspecies of African elephants.

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List Status:

  • African Savanna Elephant: Endangered.
  • African Forest Elephant: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix II

Threats:

  • Escalation of poaching.
  • Habitat loss.
  • Human-elephant conflict.
  • Mistreatment in captivity.
  • Abuse due to elephant tourism.
  • Rampant mining, Corridor destruction.

Human-Elephant Conflicts

  • Elephant-human conflict is a result of habitat loss and fragmentation.
  • When elephants and humans interact, there is conflict from crop raiding, injuries and deaths to humans caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans for reasons other than ivory and habitat degradation.
  • Such encounters foster resentment against the elephants amongst the human population and this can result in elephants being viewed as a nuisance and killed.
  • In addition to the direct conflicts between humans and elephants, elephants also suffer indirect costs like degradation of habitat and loss of food plants.

-Source: The Hindu


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