Threats To Elephants


    In News

    Recently, A female elephant was electrocuted in Odisha after coming in contact with a live wire.


    Earlier incidents 

    • The electrocution of seven elephants together near Kamalanga in Dhenkanal district on October 27, 2018, is recorded as one of the biggest-ever tragedies in the annals of India’s wildlife history.
    • Some 119 elephants were electrocuted between 2009 and 2019, according to the statistics of the forest department.


    Other threats posed to Elephant Population

    • Poaching: 
      • The demand for ivory leads to the illegal poaching of both African and Asian elephants.
      •  Elephants are also poached for meat, leather, and body parts with the illegal wildlife trade putting elephants increasingly in danger.
    • Habitat loss:
      • The loss of habitat due to deforestation increases in mining and agricultural activities has become problematic, especially for Asian elephants.
      •  The fragmentation of habitat also creates isolation and this makes breeding more difficult.
    • Human-elephant conflict
      • It is a significant concern, as human populations increase and forest cover decreases, forcing elephants into close proximity with human settlements.
      • Incidents include crop damage and economic losses, as well as both elephant and human casualties.
        • Between 2015 and 2020, nearly 2,500 people have lost their lives in elephant attacks across India out of which about 170 human fatalities have been reported in Karnataka alone.
    • Mistreatment in captivity
      • A lack of legislation regarding the care and treatment of elephants in zoos, circuses, and tourism often leads to their mistreatment.
      • Captivity can be a serious threat to elephants, and Asian elephants are often illegally captured in the wild and trafficked into the lucrative tourism industry.


    Government Initiatives:

    • Portal on Human-Elephants Conflict 
      • The National Portal on human-elephant conflict called “Surakshya” for the collection of real-time information & also for managing the conflicts on a real-time basis.
      • It will help to set the data collection protocols, data transmission pipelines and data visualization tools to enable policy-makers to leverage HEC data for policy formulation and for preparation of Action Plans for mitigation of conflicts.
    • Project Elephant (PE)
      • It was launched in 1992 to provide financial and technical support to major elephant bearing States in the country for the protection of elephants, their habitats and corridors.
      • It is a centrally sponsored scheme and seeks to address the issues of human-elephant conflict and the welfare of domesticated elephants.
    • Use of LiDAR technology 
      • The government is using LiDAR technology in order to provide fodder and water augmentation in forest areas so that animals will get food and water in forest areas and will not come outside.
    •  Project RE-HAB
      • Under this Project, bee boxes will be used as a fence to prevent the attack of elephants.
      • The bee boxes are set up in the passageways of human-elephant conflict zones to block the entrance of elephants to human habitations.
      • The boxes are connected with a string so that when elephants attempt to pass through, a tug causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds and dissuade them from progressing further.
      • Bee boxes have been placed on the ground as well as hung from the trees.
      • High resolution, night vision cameras have been installed at strategic points to record the impact of bees on elephants and their behaviour in these zones.


    Measures Need to be Taken

    • Improvement of habitat: In-situ and ex-situ habitat conservation measures will help in securing animals their survival.
      • Re-locating animal habitats away from residential and commercial centres will serve to minimize animal-man conflict for illegal and self-interested motives.
    • Surveillance– Increased vigilance and protection of identified locations using hi-tech surveillance tools like sensors can help in tracking the movement of animals and warn the local population.
    • Awareness Programmes: To create awareness among people and sensitize them about the Dos and Don’ts in the forest areas.
    • Training programs:Training to the police offices and local people should be provided for this purpose and the forest department should frame guidelines.
    • Improve enforcement policies: There is a need to improve enforcement policies for preventing the illegal poaching and trade of ivory and conserving elephant habitats and better treatment for captive elephants. 


    Source: DTH