Total elimination of man-animal conflict prime goal: Environment minister Harsh Vardhan
Aiming for complete elimination of man-animal conflict, Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday called for a model to fix the elephant habitats and corridors.
According to a report, 415 persons in 2015-16 and 245 in 2016-17 (up to February 9, 2017) were killed by elephants, while over 100 elephants also died during the same period.
Depleting corridors, through which the megaherbivore moves across the forests for food and water, is considered to be the top reason for such conflicts.
India has about 110 recognised elephant corridors, most of which require rigorous fixing.
“Our goal is to completely eliminate the menace of man-animal conflict, in which around 400 people and 100 elephant die every year,” Harsh Vardhan said here on the occasion of the release of the latest census report to mark the World Elephant Day.
According to the census report, India has 27,312 free-ranging elephants that make for 60 per cent of the total Asian elephant population.
Fixing the elephant habitats will also positively impact all other species of the region, according to the experts.
“We have a good number of elephants and we must not be obsessed with population. The only issue is management of the habitats and their population,” said Professor Raman Sukumar of the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science.
Calling for an end to poaching, animal cruelty and wildlife crime at the earliest and spreading overall awareness, Harsh Vardhan said the issue of conservation required a scientific approach.
“If we can have cure for cancer then why not cure the issue of conservation as well,” the Minister said.
The environment ministry also released the 17-point list of actions to be taken for the trans-border conservation of elephants in the India-Bangladesh landscape. The list was prepared at a summit in Shillong last month.
Bangladesh has a population of 200 resident elephants.