2-day meet on Asian elephants concludes (India)


Times of India

Date Published

GUWAHATI: The two-day Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) meet – which saw the participation of elephant experts from five countries – ended here on Friday. The meet collated country-based inputs on the status of wild and captive Asian elephants in their habitats.

Director of Elephant Project RK Srivastava, who presented the status of the Asian elephant in India, pointed out that loss, shrinkage, degradation and fragmentation of elephant habitats, conflict with humans, poaching, train accidents and electrocution posed major threats to jumbos in the country.

The northeast has 9,239 of 30,711 elephants in the country. Assam alone has around 5,620 elephants.

Srivastava said preparations had begun for next year’s elephant census and state governments had been asked to list their requirements to conduct the census in their annual plan of operation for Project Elephant for 2016-17. Elephant census is conducted every five years and the last was done in 2012.

More than 75 experts from 15 countries attended the meet to discuss the current status of wild and captive Asian elephants and propose measures for long-term conservation of elephants in the continent.

IUCN steering committee adviser Simon Stuart said the experts had gathered to take a decision on elephant conservation and managing human-elephant conflict.

Assam principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden Bikash Brahma said holding the meet in the state was significant as human-elephant conflict here was on the rise and had emerged as a major threat to the conservation of the species.

AsESG chair and executive director of Wildlife Trust of India Vivek Menon said inputs from the experts would go into resolving problems confronting Asian elephants.