NEW DELHI: Country’s over 55 percent of elephant population is in Southern region and mainly in two states of Karnataka and Kerala, according to Elephant Census 2017 released Saturday.
The total figure of elephants in the country stands at 27312 in 23 states with Assam having second highest number of elephants after Karnataka. The population of Asian elephant was estimated at around 30000 in 2012 and at 27,670 in 2007 census.
Karnataka with 6049 elephants tops the list among 23 census states followed by Assam having 5,719, Kerala with 3054 and Tamil Nadu having 2761 pachyderms. Region wise spread of jumbos show that the highest population was in southern region (11,960) followed by north-east region (10,139), east-central region (3,128) and northern region (2,085).
Asian elephant has been identified as endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in view of the fact that its population has declined by more than 50 percent over the last three generations, estimated to be 60-75 years. India is home to about 60 percent of the global population of Asian Elephants.
Releasing the Census, Environment Minister Harsh 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 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.
Nation-wide elephant population estimation exercise has been conducted every five years by the forest departments of elephant range states.
The ministry said that the results of census should be interpreted with caution.
“At this stage, comparisons should not be made between results from the 2017 census and the earlier 2012 census, the reason being that the earlier census results were based on a mixture of direct and indirect count methods as reported by different states,” said the ministry.
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.