Steep decline in centre’s elephant census; Kerala to conduct resurvey

By: P. K. Jayachandran
Kochi: The State Forest Department is conducting a fresh survey as the elephant census conducted by Union Ministry of Environment and Forests showed a steep decline in elephant population. The new report will be submitted to the state government within two weeks.
As per the centres census completed last May, there are 3054 elephants in the forests of Kerala. This was 6177 in 2012. The experts also point out that the decline in elephant population to less than half of the previous figures is likely to be some error. The 3 year (2014-17) 'New Initiatives and Efforts' report by the union ministry said that in a total about 30,000 elephants are in the country in 2015, and also expected that there will be no decline in the census held in May.
Contrary to the expectations, the census found only 27,312 elephants, noting a decline of 2688 elephants. There were only 12,000 elephants in India in 1970s. This was increased to 30,000 in 2015 as a result of forest conservation programmes and implementation of 'Project Elephant'. But the unexpected decline in the number in the past two years is suspected to be an error in the census.
Dr. P.S. Esa, a member of National Board for Wildlife, said that a detailed assessment is required to find out if any mistakes occurred in the census of elephants. There could be mistakes in the census conducted in other states also. A flawless report should be published after verification, he added.

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