11% fall in elephant population in five years, says government report
Environment minister Harsh Vardhan launched a 15-month-long campaign — Gaj Yatra — to raise awareness about the shrinking space for India’s wild elephants and their corridors, a probable reason for decline in their population.india Updated: Aug 12, 2017 23:14 IST
World Elephant Day on Saturday brought both good and bad news for wildlife lovers.
First, the good news. Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have together recorded an increase of more than 1,200 wild elephants in the last five years as per a Census report released by environment minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday.
Now, the bad news: The population of elephants in India has declined by nearly 11% or 3,399 in the last five years — from 30,711 in 2012 to 27,312 in 2017.
“At this stage, comparisons should not be made (between 2012 and 2017), the reason being that the earlier Census results were based on a mixture of direct and indirect counting methods, as reported by different states,” said the Census report , Synchronised Elephant Population Estimation 2017.
Harsh Vardhan said this time the results were based on the direct count method. The indirect method includes estimation through elephant dung analysis.
The minister also launched a 15-month-long campaign — Gaj Yatra — to raise awareness about the shrinking space for India’s wild elephants and their corridors, a probable reason for decline in their population. The Wildlife Trust of India, which will coordinate the yatra, has mapped a total of 101 elephant corridors.
Of 24 states surveyed for the exercise, only eight reported an increase in elephant numbers. Tamil Nadu saw the biggest dip of 1,254 elephants, followed by Karnataka (439).
The report also highlighted the increasing elephant-human conflict with their habitat shrinking in most states in which over 100 tuskers and 660 people have died since 2015.