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It?s time to save the jumbos

Wildlife activists have warned there won't be any elephants left in Uttaranchal in next 25 years, writes Nandini Iyer.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 14:53 IST
Nandini R Iyer
Nandini R Iyer

It had needed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention for the government to even admit that tigers were on the decline in India. It appears that elephants might also need a similar consideration for their survival.

Even as wildlife activists warn there won't be any elephants left in Uttaranchal in the next 25 years, a Parliamentary panel has criticised the Ministry of Environment and Forests for not taking sufficient interest in Project Elephant.

Activists say reports of elephants meeting their death at the hands of poachers, during crop raids or while crossing railway tracks have become so commonplace that people have stopped reacting.

In November last year, a speeding vehicle hit a elephant on a road, where it was left to die. In view of such incidents, a report tabled recently by the Standing Committee on Environment and Forests has highlighted the government's lack of strategy to protect the elephant.

Asking the ministry to recognise that, "the tusk is as precious as tiger skin and not immune from poachers" the report suggests "an effective strategy be evolved for their (elephants) protection".

Stating that "elephant corridors alone are not sufficient to protect the animal," it said there was need for anti-poaching measures as well.

The panel has suggested that state governments be granted funds to manage habitats, reduce man-animal conflict and speed up ex-gratia grants for losses caused by wild elephants.

First Published: Mar 28, 2006 03:59 IST