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India has 27,312 elephants, Karnataka has highest: Census Estimation

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According to preliminary results from the first-ever synchronized All-India Elephant Population Estimation released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on World Elephant Day (August 12, 2017), India is home to 27,312 Asian elephant population.

About All-India Elephant Population Census:

  • The census was conducted from March 2017 to May 2017.
  • It covered 1.10 lakh square kilometres and spanned four regions of the country: the northeast, east-central, south and north.
  • The Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) at the Indian Institute of Science (Bengaluru), several NGOs and independent conservationists aided the Project Elephant Directorate and forest departments of 23 states in this exe
  • The preliminary estimate has been derived from the sighting-based direct count method. It will be confirmed with estimates from the indirect dung-count method in next three months.

Highlights of All-India Elephant Population Census:

  • Karnataka has the highest number of elephants (6,049), followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (3,054).
  • In Karnataka, the protected forests of Nagarhole, Bhadra and Bandipur have the maximum elephant density.
  • Other major elephants bearing states are Tamil Nadu (2,761), Odisha (1,976), Uttarakhand (1,839), Meghalaya (1,754), Arunachal Pradesh (1,614), West Bengal (682) and Jharkhand (679).
  • The numbers are lower as compared to last census estimate in 2012 (between 29,391 and 30,711).
  • However, in the 2012 count, various states used different methodologies. Thus there is probability that errors and duplication could have led to overestimation.
  • Raman Sukumar from the Indian Institute of Science has mentioned that a number of indices, including birth rate, indicate that the elephant population is increasing.
  • It is to be noted that as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the population of Asian elephants was about 41,410 to 52,345 and of that India alone accounts for nearly 60%.