What are reasons for Unnatural Death of Elephants in India?

According to data given by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, 600 elephants have died due to electrocution across India, in between 2009 and 2019.

Key Points

  • Out of total deaths, 116 took place in Karnataka, 117 in Odisha while 105 in Assam.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Maharashtra are the only states with zero such deaths.

Deaths in Karnataka

  • Karnataka have been reporting most of the unnatural elephant deaths in the last few years. Though, the number have come down but annually. But 5-6 cases of deaths of jumbos are due to electrocution.
  • In June 2021 Four jumbos died in Kodagu, while in October 2020, two male elephants died in Bannerghatta National Park Bengaluru, due to electrocution.
  • Elephants die when they come in contact with electric fence lines put up by private landowners.

Government’s project to save Elephants

Government has been providing financial and technical assistance under the scheme called “Project Elephant” to the elephant range states and union territories.

About Project Elephant

Project Elephant was launched in 1992, in order to provide financial and technical support to wildlife management efforts taken by states for the protection of wild Asian Elephants. It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS). Scheme is being implemented with following objectives:

  1. For protecting elephants, their habitat & corridors.
  2. Addressing issues of man-animal conflict.
  3. Welfare of captive elephants.

Implementation of the scheme

Project Elephant is being mainly implemented across 16 States and UTs namely, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Karnataka, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Tripura, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

Ex-gratia relief

The scheme also has the provision of ex-gratia relief in case of human death or injury, damage to property and crop loss.

Asian Elephants: Protection Status

IUCN Red List: Endangered category.

CITES: Appendix I animal.

India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I animal.

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