Report on Elephant Corridors of India

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    Syllabus: GS-3/Environment, Conservation

    Context

    Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment has released a report on Elephant Corridors of India, 2023.

    • The report has been compiled by the Elephant Cell of Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

    What is the Elephant Corridor?

    • An elephant corridor is a land strip facilitating the movement of elephants between two or more viable habitat patches. 

    Key Points of the Report:

    • The Centre has identified 62 new corridors used by elephants for movement, the total number of corridors are 150.
      • Previously in the 2010 Elephant Task Force Report, there were 88 corridors in the country.
    • Out of total corridors in India, 26 are in Bengal (17%  of all the passages).
    • The intensity of elephant use has increased in 59 of these corridors, and remained stable.
      • 15 have been impaired and require restoration efforts.
      • 29 corridors have recorded a decline in usage by elephants.
    • Four elephant-bearing regions in India:
      • the East-Central region reported the highest number of elephant corridors at 52
      • the Northeast Region at 48
      • the Southern Region at 32
      • The Northern region has the lowest number of elephant corridors at 18.
    • Of the total elephant corridors, 126 are within the political boundaries of states while 19 are located across two states
    • There are states where elephants have recently increased. These include the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra, Southern Maharashtra – where elephants are present in Bandhavgarh and Sanjay tiger reserves – and Northern Andhra Pradesh, where elephants move in from Odisha.

    About Elephants

    • Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth and have distinctly massive bodies, large ears, and long trunks. There are two types of elephants- Asian Elephants and African Elephants.
    • Asian Elephants:
      • Scientific Name: Elephas maximus indicus.
      • Size: The Asian elephant is the largest land mammal on the Asian continent. 
      • Habitat and distribution: They inhabit dry to wet forest and grassland habitats in 13 range countries spanning South and Southeast Asia.
      • IUCN Status: 
        • They are listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. 
        • Asian elephants have also been listed in the Appendix I of the Convention of the Migratory species (CMS). It was decided at the Conference of Parties of CMS 13 held at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat in 2020.
    • African Elephants: 
      • Scientific Name: loxodonta cyclotis
      • There are two subspecies of African elephants, the Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant.
      • IUCN Status: 
        • African forest elephant: Critically Endangered
        • African savanna elephant: Endangered
    • Threats to the Elephants
      • The demand for ivory leads to the illegal poaching of both African and Asian elephants.
      • The loss of habitat due to deforestation increases in mining and agricultural activities has become problematic, especially for Asian elephants.
      • It is a significant concern, as human populations increase and forest cover decreases, forcing elephants into close proximity with human settlements.
      • A lack of legislation regarding the care and treatment of elephants in zoos, circuses, and tourism often leads to their mistreatment.
    • Population in India : 
      • According to the last estimation conducted in 2017, there are around 30,000 elephants in India, which account for 60 percent of the global population.
      • Karnataka has the largest number of elephants in the country and Maharashtra has the lowest elephant population in India.

    Initiatives Taken: 

    • 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.
      • Features:
        • Welfare of the domestic elephants.
        • Mitigation of human-elephant conflict.
        • Measures for protection of elephants against poachers and unnatural death.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Under the Project RE-HAB, 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.

    Source: DTE