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Centre identifies 62 new elephant corridors; total now 150

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    29th Sep, 2023

Context

A new elephant corridor report has been released by the central government that showed a 40 per cent increase in elephant corridors across 15 elephant range states in India. 

Elephant corridors can be defined as a strip of land that enables elephant movement between two or more friendly habitats. The corridors were reported by respective state governments and ground validation methods were used to verify them.

Highlights of the Report:

  • The government has identified 62 new elephant corridors, marking a significant milestone in the nation's commitment to wildlife conservation.
    • This brings the total number of such corridors to 150, a remarkable increase from the 88 registered in 2010.
  • The elephant population in the country is estimated to be over 30,000.
  • West Bengal has the most elephant corridors — 26 — amounting to 17 per cent of the total corridors.
  • The increase in the elephant corridors reflected that elephants have expanded their ranges in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra neighbouring Chhattisgarh and southern Maharashtra bordering Karnataka.
  • Elephants have also seen increased presence in Madhya Pradesh found in Sanjay Tiger reserves and Bandhavgarh.
  • Region-wise Data:
    • East central region contributed to 35 per cent, which is 52 corridors,
    • The North East region was second largest with 32 per cent number meaning 48 corridors in total.
    • Southern India registered 32, that is 21 per cent of the elephant corridors,
    • Northern India was lowest with 18 corridors or 12 per cent.
  • Status of Corridor Use:
    • Elephant corridor report released by the central government showed a 40% increase in elephant corridors across 15 elephant range states in India.
    • 19% of corridors (29) show a decrease in use, and 10 require restoration due to impairment.
  • Concerns highlighted: The decrease in corridor use is attributed to the habitat fragmentation, shrinkage and destruction.

Elephants in India:

  • Elephants are keystone species as well as the Natural Heritage Animal of India.
  • India has the largest number of wild Asian Elephants. The elephant population in the country is estimated to be over 30,000.
  • Karnataka has the highest elephant population in India.
  • Conservation Status:
    • Convention of the Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species:
      • Asian Elephant: Endangered
      • African Forest Elephant: Critically Endangered
      • African Savanna Elephant: Endangered

Government Efforts:

  • Gaj Yatra: It is a nationwide campaign to protect elephants launched by Ministry of Environment and Forest.
    • The campaign is planned to cover 12 elephant range states across the country.
    • It is a 15 months campaign led by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
    • The campaign aims create awareness about elephant corridors to encourage free movement in their habitat.
  • Project Elephant: The Government of India introduced Project Elephant in 1992 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the following goals:
    • To safeguard elephants, their habitat, and migration routes
    • To address problems of animal-human conflict
    • Elephant welfare in captivity
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