Project Elephant

Project Elephant was launched in 1992 to assist the States having free ranging populations of wild elephants to ensure the long term survival of identified viable populations of elephants in their natural habitats.


Taxonomically, elephants belong to family Elephantidae. There are ONLY two genera extant from this species viz. Elephas and Loxodonta. Genus Elephas is of the Asian Elephants. There is only one surviving species of this Genus viz. Elephas maximus and elephants of this species are found in natural conditions only in Asia. This species has three subspecies as follows:

  • Indian Elephant: Elephas maximus indicus
  • Sri Lankan Elephant: Elephas maximus maxicus
  • Mainland Asian Elephants: Elephas maximus sumatranus

Asian elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia. Asian elephants are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986. With loss and fragmentation of their habitats due to various man-made pressures, wild elephants increasingly raid crops and human settlements resulting in injury and loss of human and elephant lives.

To address these threats, Project Elephant was launched by the Government of India in 1992 to assist states having free-ranging elephant populations to ensure their long term conservation. The project is monitored by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.


The main objectives outlined for Project Elephant are:

  • To protect elephants and their habitats to enable viable populations
  • To address issues of human-elephant conflict and local community welfare
  • To undertake scientific studies on wild elephants
  • To strengthen capacity of wildlife staff in elephant bearing areas
  • To promote eco-tourism in elephant reserves

Elephant Reserves

As of 2024, 33 elephant reserves across 23 states cover about 70% of wild elephant ranges with each state having an Elephant Conservation Action Plan. The elephant reserves represent the broader landscape required for maintaining populations within the protected wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

No.Elephant   ReserveStateTotal Area  (Sq.  Km)
1Rayala ERAndhra Pradesh766
2Kameng ERArunachal Pradesh1892
3South Arunachal ERArunachal Pradesh1957.50
4Sonitpur ERAssam1420
5Dihing-Patkai ERAssam937
6Kaziranga – Karbi Anglong ERAssam3270
7Dhansiri-Lungding ERAssam2740
8Chirang-Ripu ERAssam2600
10Lemru ERChhattisgarh450
11Singhbhum ERJharkhand4530
12Mysore ERKarnataka6724
13Dandeli ERKarnataka2,321
14Wayanad ERKerala1200
15Nilambur ERKerala1419
16Anamudi ERKerala3728
18Garo Hills ERMeghalaya3,500
19Intanki ERNagaland202
20Singphan ERNagaland23.57
21Mayurbhanj EROdisha3214
22Mahanadi EROdisha1038
23Sambalpur EROdisha427
24Nilgiri ERTamil Nadu4663
25Coimbatore ERTamil Nadu566
26Anamalai ERTamil Nadu1457
27Srivilliputtur ERTamil Nadu1249
28Agsthyamalai ERTamil Nadu1,197.48
29Uttar Pradesh ERUttar Pradesh744
30Terai ERUttar Pradesh3049
31Shivalik ERUttarakhand5405
32Mayurjharna ERWest Bengal414
33Eastern Dooars ERWest Bengal978

Sighbhum Elephant Reserve in Jharkhand was the first reserve to be notified in 2001. Out of 33 ERs, maximum number is in Assam and Tamil Nadu with five each. They cover not only the forest patches of different kinds but also villages, townships, agricultural land, tea plantations and revenue land.


Project Elephant has been somewhat successful in stabilizing populations, reestablishing connectivity corridors, reducing poaching threats and human-elephant conflicts.

Elephant Corridors

Elephant corridors are narrow strips of land that allow elephants to move from one habitat patch to another. There are approximately 183 identified elephant corridors in India.  Out of this 138 are State Elephant Corridors, 28 Inter-State Elephant Corridors and 17 are International Elephant Corridors.  Among state corridors, maximum number of them are located in Meghalaya. Among, inter-state corridors, maximum are shared by Jharkhand and Odisha. Maximum International corridors India shares with Bangladesh.

Elephant as National Heritage Animal of India

On the basis of recommendations from the In 2010, Elephants have been declared as national heritage animal by the government with an aim to step up measures for their protection. The status was recommended by a task force on elephant project. The government is still mulling over to amend the Wildlife (Protection) Act to pave way for setting up of National Elephants Conservation Authority (NECA) on the lines of the NTCA that has been constituted for the tiger conservation.

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