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Direct sighting best bet for jumbo census, say experts

As the tiger census is scheduled to be held in December 2021, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change is planning to hold elephant census from February 2022.

Published: 12th August 2021 04:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2021 02:33 PM   |  A+A-

The Environment Ministry is planning to hold elephant census from next February.

The Environment Ministry is planning to hold elephant census from next February.

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Elephant experts in a meeting with the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) have suggested that the elephant census be a simple affair, going back to the Project Elephant mode, involving direct sighting and counting.They have also suggested controlling increasing cases of elephants wandering outside protected areas and into human habitats. Based on the suggestions, the ministry has sought advice from the Karnataka High Court-constituted committee on elephant protection, 2012, to mitigate conflict. 

As the tiger census is scheduled to be held in December 2021, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change is planning to hold elephant census from February 2022. The ministry is convinced with the suggestions of experts to host the elephant census in a simple manner, in the wake of Covid-19 cases. World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12, and is dedicated to the preservation of elephants. 

As per the last census of 2017, a total of 1,29,199 sqkm was assessed in India, of which 8,976 sqkm was in Karnataka. Now, with elephants making their habitats outside reserves, the area to survey has increased by around 20 per cent. “Direct sighting will be an ideal method for the census in such a short duration, instead of using other technologies and even dung count method. Then many semi-urban areas, villages, revenue lands and even urban areas will have to be surveyed, which will be an herculean task,” experts pointed out.

Noted elephant expert R Sukumar said he has suggested to the ministry to bring the focus back on two issues -- implement the Project Elephant concept and manage elephants within the defined Project Elephant reserves. It is high time the zoning pattern is defined and drawn upon, where the elephant conservation reserve is defined, elephant-human interface zone, conflict zone and human zone are defined, he said.

“This issue must be addressed. Elephants today are roaming in Savandurga, Tumakuru, Hassan and other places, which is a matter of worry. Since there is no sufficient defined area and protection, they are wandering and getting lost into small pockets, leading to more conflict. Elephant reserves were defined from 1992, but over the years, they have not been properly managed, which is leading to this menace,” he said.

FODDER FOR JUMBOS
Bengaluru:
As part of World Elephant Day celebrations on August 12, Bannerghatta Biological  Park (BBP) will launch a new initiative wherein citizens can harvest fodder for the jumbos as part of Mrugalayakke Shramadhana (Donation of Services at Zoo). The  programme will be conducted on a weekly basis and those interested can register on the zoo website. 

Events at BTR
Mysuru:
From holding exclusive sports events to competitions similar to fancy dress for elephants, Bandipur Tiger Reserve has lined up several events to mark International Elephant Day on August 12. In the Rampura elephant camp at AM Gudi zone in the reserve, forest staff have planned sports and other drilling events for elephants.  Separate events have been planned for mahouts and kavadis who look after the elephants at the tiger reserve. Similarly, a virtual meeting will be organised on ‘Elephant Conservation and Management’.

Muted fete at Dubare
On this World Elephant Day, Dubare Camp will witness low-key celebration due to the pandemic situation. “Ritualistic puja will be offered by the mahouts to the elephants on the World Elephant Day,” confirmed RFO Ananya Kumar.



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