Asian Elephant

Asian Elephant

Why in news :

  • The Elephant whisperers recently awarded the oscar in the documentary shortfilm category.
  • The shortfilm is about abandoned elephant babies.

About Asian Elephant :

  • The Asian elephant is the largest living land animal in Asia.

  • Since 1986, the Asian elephant has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, as the population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three elephant generations, which is about 60–75 years.
  • It is primarily threatened by loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching.
  • In 2019, the wild population was estimated at 48,323–51,680 individuals.
  • Female captive elephants have lived beyond 60 years when kept in semi-natural surroundings, such as forest camps.
  • In zoos, Asian elephants die at a much younger age; captive populations are declining due to a low birth and high death rate.
  • The earliest indications of captive use of Asian elephants are engravings on seals of the Indus Valley civilisation dated to the 3rd millennium BC.
  • Asian elephants inhabit grasslands, tropical evergreen forests, semi-evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests and dry thorn forests, in addition to cultivated and secondary forests and scrublands.
  • Over this range of habitat types elephants occur from sea level to over 3,000 m (9,800 ft).
  • In the eastern Himalaya in northeast India, they regularly move up above 3,000 m (9,800 ft) in summer at a few sites.

Conservation :

  • The Asian elephant is listed on CITIES Appendix I.
  • It is listed as endangered in IUCN status.
  • It is also listed in schedule-I of the wildlife protection act, 1972.
  • It is a quintessential flagship species, deployed to catalyze a range of conservation goals, including habitat conservation at landscape scales, generating public awareness on conservation issues, and mobilisation as a popular cultural icon both in India and the West.

Project elephant :

  • Project Elephant was launched in 1992 by the Government of India Ministry of Environment and Forests to provide financial and technical support to wildlife management efforts by states for their free-ranging populations of wild Asian Elephants.

  • The project aims to ensure the long-term survival of the population of elephants in their natural habitats by protecting them, their habitats and migration corridors.
  • Other goals of Project Elephant are supporting the research of the ecology and management of elephants, creating awareness of conservation among local people, providing improved veterinary care for captive elephants.
  • Financial support is being provided to major elephant bearing States in the country.
  • The Project is being mainly implemented in 16 States / UTs, viz. Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal.

Monitoring against poaching :

  • Project Elephant has been formally implementing MIKE (Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants) programme of CITES in 10 ERs since January 2004.
  • It is mandated by COP resolution of CITES.

Syllabus : Prelims + Mains; GS 3 – Environment