Tue. May 30th, 2023
India to establish one more Elephant Reserve, Agasthiyamalai in Tamil Nadu to conserve elephants

World Elephant day 2022 was celebrated on Friday at Periyar, Kerala. Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, MoS, EF&CC Ashwini Kumar Choubey, and Kerala  Forests & Wildlife Minister A. K. Saseendran.  Yadav shared that India is going to witness the establishment of one more Elephant Reserve, the Agasthiyamalai in Tamil Nadu.

The Minister released “Elephant Reserves of India: An Atlas”, “Elephant Reserves of India: Land Use Land Cover Classification”, “Caring for elephants: Managing health and welfare in captivity” and the Special edition of “Trumpet”.

For the first time, Gaj Gaurav award was conferred for the commendable efforts of local communities, frontline staff and mahouts working at grass root level to conserve elephants in wild and captivity. Environment Minister Yadav awarded the Malasar Community belonging to the Anamalai of Tamil Nadu, mahouts of Kerala and Assam.

The Minister informed the audience that India has the largest and the most stable population of Asian elephants. In fact, more than 60% of wild Asian elephants are in India. The population of 29,964 elephants as recorded in the last elephant census conducted in 2017 speaks of wildlife conservation ingrained in Indian culture. 

The Minister further said that India has 31 Elephant Reserves. In the last 3 years, Dandeli Elephant Reserve has been notified by the state of Karnataka, Singphan Elephant Reserve by Nagaland and Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh. This has brought the total area under Elephant Reserves in India to about 76,508 sq km across 14 states of the country.

Speaking about the human-animal conflict, Yadav said, “The Government of India recognizes that welfare of people is at the heart of elephant conservation in India. With competition for resources, human-elephant conflict is increasing and it is unfortunate that on an average 500 people are killed annually by elephants and about 100 elephants are killed in retaliation by people. Managing human-elephant conflict is a major focus of the Indian government. Reaching out to the families of the victims affected by elephants, Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi ji’s government has increased the ex-gratia from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

To find a long-term solution, we are revisiting the elephant corridors of the country and have finished more than 50% of the task involving key stakeholders in this endeavour.

On the issue of Western Ghats, a committee had been appointed to take a holistic approach to the Kasturirangan and Gadgil Committee Report and to consider the representation given by the people.

The Union Minister took the opportunity to reiterate that Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi Ji’s Government is “pro-poor, pro people and pro planet” and that is the reason that the Prime Minister announced a mission of LiFE (Lifestyle For Environment) in Glasgow summit.

MoS, EF&CC, Choubey also addressed the gathering and said that Gajaraj has always been a part of all activities associated with human welfare since ages. He also said that the importance of public participation in conservation of elephants cannot be overstated.

World Elephant Day is an international annual event to preserve and protect the world’s elephants. Elephant is the Natural Heritage Animal of India. The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness on elephant conservation, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better protection and management of wild and captive elephants.

The current population estimates indicate that there are about 50,000- 60000 Asian elephants in the world. More than 60% of the population is held in India. Indian Elephant has also been listed in the Appendix I of the Convention of the Migratory species in the recently concluded Conference of Parties of CMS 13 at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat in February 2020.

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