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13 August 2017, 12:45 | Glen Norman
World Elephant Day celebrated
According to this census prepared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change by direct block count method during March-May 2017, there are 10,139 elephants in India's northeast region, 3,128 in east-central region, 2,085 in northwest and 11,960 in the southern region. An error that combined direct and indirect count methods for the state of Kerala showed an inflated figure of 30,000 elephants across the country.
The minister emphasised that an attempt must be made to bring to an end the chapter of man-animal conflict and a war must be waged against poachers and hunters who harm elephants and other wildlife. "This is a similar method used to get estimates for tiger populations too", he said.
There were 3,000 extra elephants in India in 2012, but only on paper.
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.
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Dr. Vardhan urged the people to prepare a strategy for a more even distribution of the elephant population in all the states of the country.
The environment minister also released a document outlining "Agreed Points of Action on Trans-Boundary Conservation of Elephants by India and Bangladesh" which highlighted the issues on which two nations have achieved consensus on migration of elephants. An elephant with tail upward is a sign of aggression like if the elephant expands its ear fans. The Wildlife Trust of India, which will coordinate the yatra, has mapped a total of 101 elephant corridors.
India started Project Elephant in 1992 to protect the Asian elephant, its habitat and corridors and address the man-elephant conflict.
"We have a good number of elephants and we must not be obsessed with population". In addition, there will be drawings for elephant related prizes, including art created by the elephants.
At present, there are 29 elephant reserves across India, covering over 65,000 sq.km.
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.
"A sum of '4.27 crore was spent for 2,921 beneficiaries previous year and elephants account for the maximum human- animal conflicts in the state".
As per official numbers, in last four years, one human life was lost every day due to the human-elephant conflict.
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