Recently, the Government of India has announced the notification of one more Elephant Reserve (ER) Agasthiyamalai in Tamil Nadu during a programme in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala.
- This will be the 32nd Elephant Reserve in the country after Singphan ER in Nagaland was notified in 2018.
- Agasthiyamalai is Tamil Nadu’s 5th Elephant Reserve and also a Bioshphere Reserve.
GS II- Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Asian Elephants
- African Elephants
- What is Project Elephant?
- Way Forwards to prevent Man – Animal Conflicts
- 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).
- IUCN Red List: Endangered.
- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.
- CITES: Appendix I
The Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant are two subspecies of African elephants.
IUCN Red List Status:
- African Savanna Elephant: Endangered.
- African Forest Elephant: Critically Endangered
- CITES: Appendix II
- Escalation of poaching.
- Habitat loss.
- Human-elephant conflict.
- Mistreatment in captivity.
- Abuse due to elephant tourism.
- Rampant mining, Corridor destruction.
- 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.
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.
Way Forwards to prevent Man – Animal Conflicts
- Surveillance- Increased vigilance and protection of identified locations using hi-tech surveillance tools like sensors can help in tracking the movement of animals and warn the local population.
- Improvement of habitat- In-situ and ex-situ habitat conservation measures will help in securing animals their survival.
- Re-locating of animal habitats away from residential and commercial centres will serve to minimize animal-man conflict for illegal and self-interested motives
- Awareness Programmes- To create awareness among people and sensitize them about the Do’s and Don’ts in the forest areas to minimize the conflicts between man and animal.
- Training programs- Training to the police offices and local people should be provided for this purpose forest department should frame guidelines.
- Boundary walls- The construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks.
- Technical and financial support- For the development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals through tranquilization, their translocation.
- Part of CSR- Safeguarding Tiger corridors, building eco-bridges and such conservation measures can be part of corporate social responsibility.
Source: Down to Earth