Latest Elephant Census Report Released

Karnataka tops the list of having maximum number of wild elephants in India.

According to the latest elephant census report of the union environment ministry, there are 6,049 wild elephants in India.

Karnataka tops India’s elephant list followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (3,054).

The protected forests of Nagarhole, Bhadra and Bandipur have the maximum elephant density.

The census report pegs the total number of elephants in India at 27,312. The highest density was seen in the southern zone (11960) followed by the north east (10,139). The numbers are far less in the north west and central India.

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 results show an overall density of 0.67 elephants per square km, which extrapolated to an area of 8976 sq km where these jumbos are distributed, led to an estimated count of 6,049 elephants – the highest in the country.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Asian elephants are endangered and found a place in the IUCN’s red list. African elephants, on the other hand, are listed as vulnerable.

As per the available population estimates, there are about 400,000 African elephants and 40,000 Asian elephants.

India has 101 documented elephant corridors, the number of which went up in the last seven years since the 2010 Elephant Task Force report came out.

The 2010 report identified 88 corridors (27 priority-1 and 61 priority-2), out of which seven corridors became dysfunctional and 18-20 new corridors being used by the animals.

In 2012, the elephant population was estimated at around 30,000 (29,391-30,711) and in 2007 it was estimated at about 27,670 (27,657-27,682).

As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the population of Asian elephants, an endangered species, was about was 41,410-52,345. Of that, India alone accounts for nearly 60% (26,390–30,770).

Although elephants are worshipped in India, human-elephant conflict has increased in the country and has emerged as one of the concern areas for the authorities over the past few years.

The primary reason for human-elephant conflict is the loss and degradation of wildlife habitats, increasing the chances of wild animals leaving their habitat and encountering people.