Project Elephant [UPSC]

Project Elephant [UPSC]

Project Elephant

  • Launched in – 1992.
  • Launched as Centrally sponsored scheme
  • By- Ministry of environment and forests
  • Mainly implemented in 13 States/UTs – Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam,
    Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal,
    UP and WB.
  • Small support to Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
  • States were provided both financial and technical assistance.

Objectives 

To protect elephants, their habitat & corridors
To address issues of man, animal conflict
Welfare of domesticated elephants

Aim

Restoring the natural habitats of elephants.
Addressing man and elephant conflict
Developing scientific and planned management measures for conservation of elephants.
Protecting the elephants from poachers and other unnatural causes of death
Preventing illegal ivory trade.
Researching on issues related to elephant
Crating public awareness and education programs for it.
Eco-development and Veterinary care for the elephants.
Maintaining health care and breeding of tamed elephants.

Elephant Corridor

Elephant Corridor

Stretch/narrow strips of forested land that connects larger habitats with elephant
populations and forms a conduit for animal movement between the habitats.
This movement helps in enhancing the species survival and birth rate.
In India – 88 identified elephant corridors.
Of total only 70% used by elephants. 1/3rd – ecologically high priority and 2/3rd
medium priority.
Fragmentation of elephant habitat severity in following order –
o Northern WB → NW India → NE India → central India
South India – least fragmented because 65% corridors in south are protected areas or in
reserved forests.

Threats to elephant corridors

Primary threat – Habitat loss.
Fragmentation and destruction of habitat due to developmental activities like
construction of buildings, roads, railways, holiday resorts and the fixing solar energized
electric fencing, etc.
“single biggest threats” in central India – Coal mining and iron ore mining
Mineral-rich states Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh also have the highest number of
elephant corridors in the country, which makes them known for elephant-man conflicts.
Poaching for extremely valuable elephant ivory
Non-accommodation of grazing grounds results in searching for food elsewhere which
lead to them to crop fields and resulting in man animal conflict.

Mitigation

Fusion of the corridors with nearby protected areas wherever feasible.
In other cases, declaration as Ecologically Sensitive Areas or conservation reserves to
grant protection.
Securing a corridor and Habitat restoration if needed.
Sensitizing local communities to the option of voluntarily relocation outside the conflict
zones to safer areas.

Monitoring of illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme

Project Elephant has been formally implementing MIKE (Monitoring of Illegal Killing of
Elephants) programme of CITES in 10 Elephant reserves since January 2004.
It is mandated by COP resolution of CITES.
It was started in South Asia in 2003 with the following purpose –

  • 1. To measure levels and trends in illegal hunting of elephants.
    2. To determine changes in these trends overtime.
    3. To determine the factors causing or associated with these changes and to try and
    assess in particular to what extent observed trends are a result of any decisions
    taken by the Conference of the Parties to CITES.
    4. Data are collected from all sites on monthly basis in specified MIKE patrol form and
    submitted to Sub-Regional Support Office for South Asia Programme in Delhi who
    are assisting Ministry in implementation of the programme.

Haathi mere Saathi

No-no not the above movie. We are talking about campaign which was launched by the
Ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) in partnership with the, wildlife trust of
India (WTI).
Why launched? To improve conservation and welfare prospects of the elephant –
India’s National Heritage Animal.
Launched at – “Elephant- 8″ Ministerial meeting, Delhi in 2011.
E-8 countries are India, Botswana, Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Sri lanka,
Tanzania, and Thailand.
Aim – Increasing awareness among people and developing friendship, companionship
between people and elephants.

The campaign Mascot “Gaju”

Focuses on – taget audience groups including locals near elephant habitats, youth,
policy makers etc.
It envisions of setting up of Gajah (Elephant) centre to spread awareness on their plight
and invoke people’s participation in addressing the threats to them.
It also plans to build capacity of [protection and law enforcement agencies at the
ground level, and advocate for policies favoring the elephants.
Elephant task force (ETF) campaign to "Take Gajah (elephant) to the Prajah (people)”
aims to spread awareness and encourage people’s participation in elephant
conservation and welfare.

Elephant – 8 Ministerial Meeting
The E-8 ministerial meeting represented regions with all 3 species of elephants –

  • o Elphas maximus (Asian elephant)
    o Loxodonta Africana (African Bush elephant)
    o Loxodonta Cyclotis (African forest elephant)

Participants include – policy makers, conservationist, scientists, historians, art and
culture experts among the participating countries.

Discussions were under 3 basic themes

  • o Science and conservation
    o Management and conservation
    o Cultural and ethical perspectives of conservation


E-8 countries resolved to –

  • o Take necessary steps in the direction of elephant conservation.
    o To actively pursue a common agenda to ensure a long term welfare and survival
    of all species of elephants in all range countries.

To realize this goal meeting has called all range countries to join hands under umbrella
of elephant 50:50 forum.

E-50:50 forum

It is the share vision of 50 states to promote conservation, management and welfare of
elephants in next 50 years.
1s international congress – New Delhi (2013) – for adopting a common global vision of
conservation, management and welfare of elephants across all range countries.

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