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Ecologists seek legal cover for elephants



Mail Today, New Delhi, 7th November, 2014

Akash Vashishtha


Concerned by the poaching and accidental death of elephants, environmentalists have sought legal protection  for their reserve and corridors across the country.


Wildlife activists have said these measures should be similar to those put in place to protect tigers. Though elephants are protected tigers. Though elephants are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, their habitats and corridors do not have legal sanctity under the mechanism.



 India has 32 elephant reserves approved by the Environment Ministry, but only 26, extending over 60,000 sq km, have been notified by state governments.


Only a small portion of the total area is offered legal protection. Similarly, about 50 per cent of corridors used by elephants for movement do not have legal protection.


Project Elephant, started by the centre in 1992, offers no legal protection to the species habitats and passages.


According to estimates from wildlife conservation bodies, 18 elephants were killed by poachers till august in 2013, poachers killed 38 elephants.


According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India trains have struck down 175 elephants on railway lines cutting through habitats and corridors, while 126 elephants were electrocuted in Odisha alone by transmission lines, poachers and other sources.


A large number of elephants have died after being hit by vehicles on highways and roads fragmenting their corridors thought such mortalities are usually not reported.


A petition was recently filed by Guwahati based wildlife biologist Dr. Kashmira Kakati in the National Green Tribunal, which cited the examples of Dihing Patkai Elephant Reserve and Bogapani Corridor in Assam and contended massive prohibited activities were taken place in violation  of rules.