Karnataka sees increase in elephant population, says Forest Minister
Karnataka Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre on Wednesday said the elephant population in the state has increased from 6,049 to 6,395 according to the latest survey.
Releasing the elephant census report conducted in May, he said this is a jump of 346 pachyderms in comparison to last census conducted in 2017. “Although elephants are mighty wildlife species, they are under threat worldwide, including in India. In order to protect the endangered animal, the World Elephant Day is being celebrated on August 12 to create awareness about conservation of their habitat so that they can also live comfortably,” the minister said at a press conference here. According to Khandre, the elephant census is conducted every five years and the previous census was held in 2017.
In 2022, an attempt was made to take up survey as part of the All India Tiger Census but it did not include sample block count and population structure assessment of elephants. This method is very important for census and numerical classification of the jumbos (sex and age), he said. The minister said the elephant census was conducted from May 17 to May 19 this year simultaneously by Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. A similar census was conducted in Andhra Pradesh on the same period, he said.
The census was carried out by the Karnataka Forest Department with the technical assistance of the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) headed by Prof R Sukumar, who guided in preparing the format of the census, training the field staff, analysis of census results and report preparation, he said. According to Khandre, more than 3,400 personnel from 32 divisions of the state participated in this elephant census, which was undertaken in three ways direct enumeration or block enumeration, transect survey or dung count method, and waterhole counting. The census was conducted in 32 divisions of the state and pachyderms were found in 23 divisions. The total number of elephants enumerated directly on the day of survey was 2,219. It was conducted in 6,104 sq km area out of 18,975 sq km area in these 23 divisions, he explained. “Since this is the first time such a large area has been surveyed, this survey and report are highly accurate and reliable,” the minister said.
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